Eatontown residents gathered at Veteran's Plaza in Wampum Park on Sunday for the annual Veteran's Day remembrance ceremonies.
The event was sponsored by the Frank Holmgrem/James M. Gurbisz Memorial American Legion Post 325 in Eatontown. The theme was “To Honor Those Who Served….And Those Who Are Still Serving.”
Veteran's Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.
Post Vice Commander Don Baldwin led the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance. The Eatontown Memorial School Band under the direction of James Cotignola played The National Anthem. In remarks to those in attendance, Mr. Baldwin spoke about the ongoing needs of many veterans and their families including the need for employment and mentioned how businesses should make a special effort to hire veterans whenever possible. He also remembered the two former Navy Seals Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods who where killed in the September attack at the US Consulate in Libya and how their sacrifice enabled other personnel to be rescued.
In referring to the recent hurricane, Eatontown Mayor Gerald Tarantolo remarked of how adversary brings out the best in people especially from veterans. He also recalled that as a young boy in Long Branch, he saw an older neighborhood teen he greatly admired and looked up to named James Cleffi, go off to war in the Pacific during World War II. When James returned from the war, he was much more subdued and less vibrant than he was prior to his service. Mr. Cleffi never shared the details of what he had done in the cause of freedom. Mayor Tarantolo told that while attending the wake of Mr. Cleffi who died two months ago at the age of 89, he said a prayer and than said “Jim, you are still my hero.”
Wreaths were presented by various organizations and groups based in the community (see photos.) After a moment of silence the band played and those in attendance joined in the singing of God Bless America.