‘Those things we honor and those things we share as Americans’

New Jersey towns honor fallen heroes on Memorial Day

In Holmdel, the recently reopened New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Museum hosted more than 200 guests. Dignitaries included retired former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Gold Star Family members, state and local dignitaries and representatives from every branch of the U.S. military.

Schwartz reminded the crowd in his keynote remarks that Memorial Day “reminds us of those things we honor and those things we share as Americans.”

Three high school seniors were each awarded $2,500 scholarships for essays they wrote about the Vietnam Memorial. The North Jersey Country Club sponsored the scholarships.

“The North Jersey Country Club is thrilled to sponsor these scholarships to deserving high school students who demonstrate an appreciation for our Vietnam veterans and all they gave to our country,” said Brian Mackey, PGA golf professional at North Jersey Country Club and son of Wayne Mackey, a highly decorated Vietnam Marine Corps veteran.

“One of the ways we honor the brave New Jerseyans who served in the Vietnam War is to ensure their legacies are remembered with future generations,” said Amy Osborn, executive director of New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Museum Foundation. “That’s why, each year, we’re thrilled to award scholarships to high school seniors who demonstrate an understanding of the Vietnam era through visiting the memorial and writing an essay about their experience.”

The scholarships were awarded to Elizabeth Solomine of Timothy Christian School, Benjamin Chu of Montclair High School and Collin Rauch of Shore Regional High School.


The American Veterans Traveling Tribute.

In East Brunswick, the American Veterans Traveling Tribute brought its replica Vietnam Wall to the East Brunswick Community Center from May 23-27. Built in 1998, the wall is an 80% replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. The wall contains the names of those who lost their lives serving in the Vietnam War. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 133 teamed with the township to secure the wall for the Memorial Day weekend.

The American Veterans Traveling Tribute is an independent organization, committed to travel the U.S. to honor and remember those who served, and pay tribute to those who gave all in service.


The Parade of Wreaths.

In Wrightstown, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst held its 41st annual Parade of Wreaths ceremony to honor the fallen. More than 40 wreaths are donated each year by military service branches, Joint Base units, businesses and organizations throughout the state. The Thomas B. McGuire Foundation oversees an essay contest involving local schools, with the best essays read during the ceremony. After the ceremony, the wreaths are taken to local ceremonies and placed at the graves of veterans.


The flag replacement event.

In Toms River, 30 members of the Shore Boros American Legion Post 351 in Seaside Heights came to St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Tom’s River to replace more than 2,000 flags on the graves of military veterans. Cmdr. William Kevish and First Vice Cmdr. Harry McLaughlin led the group, which also included the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of American Legion Post 351. The Knights of Columbus Council 8415 of Lavalette also participated.


In Morristown, the Morris County board of commissioners, joined by state legislators and congressional office representatives, presented Distinguished Military Service medals to 13 veterans whose service ranged from World War II to Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Distinguished Service Medal presentation.

The veterans honored on May 22 included:

  • Peter L. Cullen, Dover;
  • Kimberly Dean, Chester Township;
  • Anthony T. Donadio Jr., Randolph Township (posthumous);
  • Fabio A. Escobar, Randolph Township;
  • Wayne F. Henderson, Madison;
  • Elihu W. Kaufman, Long Hill Township;
  • Bill Lee, Roxbury Township;
  • Susan Eno Foelsch-Maher, Chatham borough;
  • Robert J. McDonnell, Lincoln Park;
  • Mateo Osorio, Madison;
  • Frank Rigillo, East Hanover;
  • Robert W. Smith, Florham Park (posthumous);
  • Brian Stanislaus, Mount Olive.

State Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Denville) and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-Chester) presented Joint Senate-Assembly Resolutions to each veteran. Kellie Doucette, representing U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11th Dist.) and Nicholas Henry, representing U.S. Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-7th Dist.), presented Certificates of Honor from their offices.