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West Orange Township Memorial Day Ceremony Reflects on Past, Looks to Future

WEST ORANGE, NJ – The West Orange community gathered at Town Hall on May 27 for the annual Memorial Day Ceremony, reflecting on the past and looking forward to the future.

The event was organized by the VFW Glennon-Sayers Post #376, the Mayor’s Office, and the West Orange High School AFJROTC. In addition, the West Orange Police and Fire Departments, Mayor Susan McCartney, Public Information Officer Joe Fagan, council members Michelle Casalino, Tammy Williams, and Susan Scarpa, and the township’s oldest veteran, Vincent “Jimmy” Andriola, nearing 100, were in attendance. Andriola served in World War II and is a recipient of the Combat Infantry Badge, a Bronze Star, and three purple hearts, and represented the special component of this year’s ceremony: the rededication of the West Orange Honor Roll, originally unveiled 80 years ago on May 30, 2024.

The ceremony began with a welcome from Major Joseph Marchesini (USAF-Ret.) and the posting of the colors by the AFJROTC. Commander Kim Ameli of VFW Post 376 led attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance and vocalist Lynette Sheard performed the National Anthem. Pastor Douglas Adams (Joy Church of God) gave the invocation, noting, “Let us lift up what it means to live our lives in a land of freedom,” and admonished the community to continue to serve one another as those that had given their lives for their country.

Mayor Susan McCartney said, “On this day, let us come together as a community to pay tribute to those who have served our country, and especially those who have given their lives in service to our nation.”

She thanked Shari Quirk, now retired from the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Public Works, and Gary Englert, who kept the ceremony alive and established West Orange as “New Jersey’s Most Decorated Community.”

Ensign Elijah Millington (WOHS Class of 2020), who graduated from the United States Naval Academy on May 24, led WOHS senior Arianna Hein in the Oath of Enlistment. Following graduation, Hein will join the United States Army.

Eight wreaths were placed in front of town hall to represent each decade since the dedication of the West Orange Honor Roll, which lists the 3,680 names of all West Orange residents who served in WWII. The wreaths were carried to the front by family members of those on the Honor Roll. West Orange resident Lt. Colonel Allan Matheson carried a wreath for the remaining war heroes along with council persons Williams and Scarpa.

WOHS senior Chester Koch and junior Ryan Sinha performed “Taps” as the wreaths were placed.

Rabbi Mendy Kasowitz (Chabad of West Orange) gave the Benediction, encouraging the community to honor our veterans and allow them “to inspire us all in justice, truth, and unity.”

As the colors were retired, the ceremony moved indoors for the rededication of the West Orange Honor Roll and a blessing from Father Jim Ferry (Our Lady of Lourdes), followed by the ribbon cutting by Mayor McCarthy.


Memorial Day

Lt. Colonel Allan Matheson and Ensign Elijah Millington

Memorial Day

Viincent "Jimmy" Andriola with family members WOPD Pat Matullo and WOFD Joe Matullo

Memorial Day

AFJROTC Color Guard

Memorial Day

Millington congratulates Arianna Hein after she takes the Oath of Enlistment

Memorial Day

Family members, council members, and Lt. Col. Matheson bring the wreaths to the front of town hall

Memorial Day

Councilpersons Michelle Casalino, Tammy Williams, and Susan Scarpa with Mayor Susan McCartney and DWOA Director Megan Brill

Rededication Plaque

The rededication plaque will be placed by the West Orange Honor Roll outside Council Chambers

Memorial Day

Father Jim Ferry reads a blessing (left) and Joe Fagan, Mayor McCartney and Lt. Col. Matheson cut the ribbon

Cynthia Cumming
May 27, 2024