LAKE HOPATCONG – Two area municipalities honored the men and women, both past and present, of the Armed Forces with Veteran’s Day ceremonies.
On Saturday morning, Jefferson Township paid tribute to all Veterans in an hour-long ceremony at Veteran’s Memorial Park on Weldon Road.
On Monday morning Hopatcong held its Veteran’s Day Ceremony at Veteran Park in the borough.
Approximately 200 guests and two generals attended Jefferson’s observance, which included musical numbers from the Jefferson Township High School Band, the White Rock School Chorus and two members of the Morris County Police Pipes and Drums.
Representatives from V.F.W. Post 564 and American Legion Posts 245 and 423 read the names of the 10 local veterans who passed away in 2013.
Mayor Russ Felter announced that two existing streets in the Oak Ridge section of Jefferson, Perrelli Lane and Patterson Drive, both named for local soldiers killed during the Vietnam War would take on a different look thanks to the efforts of Councilwoman Debbie Mertz.
The signs will now display the soldiers’ rank, full name, date of birth and date of death. Members of both families were on hand to receive a duplicate commemorative street sign.
Brigadier General John J. McGuiness, CG Picatinny Arsenal, and Brigadier General John J. Elam, Cmdr. 102 Training Division, were guest speakers at Jefferson’s ceremony.
In his speech, McGuiness thanked Jefferson for “getting it, for always being there to honor their vets.”
Elam, the director of Public Works and the township engineer, read a proclamation from President Barack Obama, which reminded everyone to pay tribute to present and past veterans.
Elam ended his speech with a top ten list of ways honor a vet on Veterans Day, including buying a veteran a steak dinner, hiring a vet, and simply saying thank you.
In his speech during Hopatcong’s ceremony, Councilman Richard Bunce thanked the nation’s Veterans for “their service and sacrifice.”
“To honor our Veterans, we must keep the promises made to them. We must care for those injured…we must honor and remember those who have died…we must remember those whose fate is unknown,” he said.
Guest speaker US Navy Lt. Mitch Ellicott spoke about the “sacrifice of freedom” soldiers have to endure while serving in the military and especially when fighting abroad.
Lt. Ellicott and Dawn Roberts, mother of local fallen soldier Sgt. Michael D. Kirspel, Jr., laid a wreath next to the monument that bears her son’s name.
Joe (Tree) Gorgolione, his wife Joy, and John Armeno, from St. Jude’s Parish performed patriotic songs throughout the ceremony.
Mayor Russ Felter at the podium during Jefferson Township's Veteran's Day Observance.
Members of the White Rock School Chorus.
Mayor Russ Felter, right, with members of the Keith F. Perrelli family.
BG John. J. McGuiness, center, laying a wreath during Jefferson Township's Veteran's Day Observance.
John Armeno and Joe Gorgolione at Hopatcong's Veteran's Day Ceremony.
Dawn Roberts, mother of fallen soldier Sgt. Michael D. Kirspel, Jr. and Navy Lt. Mitch Ellicott.
Jim Liptak, representing Hopatcong Veterans, places a wreath during Hopatcong's Veteran's Day ceremony.