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West Orange Township Holds Touching Veteran’s Day Tribute

WEST ORANGE, NJ – West Orange, “New Jersey’s Most Decorated Community,” held a touching Veteran’s Day tribute on Nov. 11 in Military Park, located in front of Police Headquarters. It is there that the township has remembered all those who died in the service of their country from WWI to the present with dedicated monuments.

The annual event was organized by Joseph Brennan Esq., Jim Cowan of the West Orange Elks BPOE Lodge 1590, and Executive Township Assistant Shari Quirk. The West Orange High School JRAFROTC, under the direction of Chief Master Sergeant Yasmeen Beckham, and the West Orange High School Brass Quintet, who performed the National Anthem and “Taps” were also part of the program.

Navy veteran and Pastor Douglas Adams provided the Invocation and Benediction and spoke to fellow veterans in attendance, noting “we are a country with a service agenda. Somebody is serving somebody. But you are different. You understand what it is to be combatants and to stand when bullets are flying and your brothers in arms are falling. We need you now to stand and show the meaning of service: whether a fire department, police department, schools, or town hall, we are called to continue to make a difference.”

Veteran Joe Brennan served as emcee and asked for a moment of silence to honor Peter Longo, the last West Orange surviving veteran of WWII, who passed away in August at the age of 101.

On Nov. 11, 1918, an armistice was called to end World War I.

“On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, ‘the War to end all wars’ ended,” Brennan stated.

“Since then, the United States has been involved in 50 military interventions around the world. We are here to recognize the duty and sacrifice of our veterans.”

Mayor Susan McCartney added “Thank you to our service men and women. You are a beacon of hope for the world.”

Jim Cowan, long-time member of the service-based Elks, admonished attendees to “celebrate and solemnly remember our veterans as we offer our profound gratitude for the freedom and safety they have provided.”

Military wreaths given by the Gold Star Mothers of West Orange were placed by the WWI monument by members of the 102nd Calvary Regiment Association, Essex Troop, and councilpersons Tammy Williams, Michelle Casalino, Susan Scarpa, and Asmeret Gebremicael.

The 102nd Cavalry Regiment has a storied history which helped turn the tide of WWII.  One of their members, Curtis Culin of Cranford, NJ, designed the “Rhino Plow,” horn-like extensions fitted onto Sherman tanks that allowed troops to push through the hedgerows during “Operation Cobra.”  Operation Cobra was offensive launched by the US Army's Lieutenant General Omar Bradley seven weeks after the D-Day landing at Normandy Beach. The 102nd Calvary Regiment keeps the memory of the rhino plow alive through lectures and presentations.

As Pastor Adams concluded his remarks, he said “We must honor the sacrifice of our veterans for the common good and we must ensure that none of the wounds of war were in vain. Now we must carry it forward.”

He ended with an anonymous quote:

“Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it; it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.”

SEE ALL THE PHOTOS FROM THE VETERAN'S DAY CEREMONY HERE. Click on the "i" button for information on each photo.


Veteran's Day

Cynthia Cumming
Nov. 11 2023