SOMERS POINT — Veterans and their families were honored Saturday morning at Patriot's Park where AMVETS Chaplain Andy Moran prayed for a hedge of protection for all veterans.
State Sen.-elect Chris Brown was the guest speaker. He compared his arrival home from serving in the Gulf War where he was welcomed to the Vietnam veterans who returned home to a much different fate in which some changed out of their uniform upon arriving at the airport for fear of ridicule.
"This was wrong, and I want to thank our Vietnam veterans for their perseverance and their patriotism. These men and women are the leaders in our nation,” Brown said.
The 2nd Legislative District assemblyman said, “Through God, all things are possible.” He reminded the large crowd gathered for the Veteran’s Day service that it is the soldier and not the reporter who provides freedom of press, it is the soldier and not the lawyer that guarantees freedom of speech and it is the soldier and not the campus organizers that make it possible for students to demonstrate and have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo made a brief comment Saturday saying, “Remember the sacrifices of the men and women in the military on this day. Those who serve now and those who served in the past, Veterans Day honors all who have served.”
At noon, a program at Shore Medical Center began with more than 1,200 flags standing row on row. Each of those flags was in honor of a loved one, a special friend, co-worker or neighbor. Fred Banner, Shore chief information officer and veteran organized the program honoring veterans saying that sometimes it is necessary for each of us to find a reason to unite. “We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. These flags represent an awful lot of people who stepped up before us,” Banner said. “For every flag in the ground there is a family.”
Banner remembered former Shore board member Joe DiOrio and a letter he once shared. It was a letter written while DiOrio was serving in a World War to his mother explaining his love for his country. “Joe and so many others went from being teenagers to a man in just a matter of moments, and we should remember their sacrifice and bravery. “