FAIRFIELD, NJ — Following the West Essex Memorial Day Parade on Monday morning, more than 100 people—including the Fairfield Police Color Guard, the Fairfield Fire Department, West Essex First Aid Squad, Veterans, township council members Michael McGlynn, Joseph Cifelli and John LaForgia, the Lady Auxiliary and various other community members—gathered at the Fairfield VFW Post 7925 (45 Plymouth Street) for its annual Memorial Day Ceremony to honor fallen service members.
"As long as two comrades survive, so long will the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States render tribute to our heroic dead," said Brian Gallagher, new commander of the Fairfield VFW, as he led the services. "To their courange and patritoism, by their service on land, on sea, and in the air. They have made us their debtors for the flag of our nation still flies over a land of free people."
An opening prayer was said by Father Juan Pablo Esteban of St. Thomas More, followed by a tribute to all those who died serving the country.
A wreath was placed near the monument as a symbol of remembrance. A white flower, a symbol of purity, was then placed on the monument.
"In memory of the heroic dead who have fallen in defense of the United States of America, I place this tribute of our devotion and everlasting rememberance," Gallagher read as a red flower was placed on the monument for remembrance and a blue carnation was placed on the grave as a symbol of eternity. "I place this emblem of eternity. Its color bespeaks life everlasting. Thus doe we immortalize the brave deeds of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have given their lives on land, on sea and in the air."
Gallagher then placed the American flag—the "emblem of the nation"—on the ground before the monument "on behalf of our glorious republic for whose integrity our comrades enlisted and served."
"The flag of our country was theirs to defend," he said. "Its glorious colors shall wave over them in death as in life—for everyone to behold."
After the service, attendees were invited into the hall for a luncheon, where Esteban distributed blessings.
Former commander Ken Rohlff said he was thrilled with this year's turn out and commended Gallagher on a job well done.
"Commander Brian Gallagher is a dear friend and I would do anything for the veterans of our country," said Daniel Scirica, a resident and township council candidate. "Any support I can give, I will be there."
Neil Glassman, Northeast New Jersey Metro Coordinator for Team Rubicon Disaster Response, was also on hand to support the Fairfield VFW Post 7925, which he recently partnered with in order to help further his mission of providing disaster relief to those affected by natural disasters, be they domestic or international.
"By pairing the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders, medical professionals, and technology solutions, Team Rubicon aims to provide the greatest service and impact possible," said Glassman.