Somers Point honors all who serve

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Vietnam veterans retire the colors at the conclusion of the Veterans Day program. Vietnam veterans retire the colors at the conclusion of the Veterans Day program.
SOMERS POINT – The breeze Sunday morning snapped the flags at the Bethel Road Veterans Memorial and lent an air of drama to an annual Veterans Day ceremony here that honored all members of the military, whether they served in times of war or peace.

Veterans representing all branches of the military and conflicts fought in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. They included Margaret Gargone of Somers Point, a member of the Women’s Air Corps from 1942-1945.

Gargone, who turned 91 Sunday, is one of 13 children originally from Mount Carmel, Pa. She and her sister, Cecelia, volunteered for the WAC and served their country working in a hospital.
Gargone was a surgical technician in Temple, Texas. She said she felt she was needed and had something to offer her nation, so she signed up.

She was enjoying her birthday by attending the ceremony with her daughter, Patricia Gonzalez, with whom she now lives in Somers Point. 

Atlantic County Veterans Services Officer Bob Frolow served as emcee of the event and took the opportunity to extend the honor of the day beyond veterans, offering his thanks to all of the first responders and emergency service workers who put others before themselves during the recent storm.

“Some of these people left their homes and were out helping to make sure others were safe, only to return and find they had problems of their own. We thank them for their service,” he said.
Somers Point Mayor Jack Glasser, an Air Force veteran, reminded listeners to keep in the back of their minds five simple words: Thank you for your service.

“Try to remember to share those words with a veteran when you meet them,” he said.
Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson said that while there are many events on Veterans Day, he always attends the Somers Point ceremony.

“By the way, that is by choice,” he said.He spoke of the recent election and how the top 1 percent of money earners in the country got a lot of play, yet the 1 percent of men and women who put on a uniform and protect the country’s freedoms seem to be forgotten.

“They should come here to Somers Point, where the veterans are never forgotten,” Levinson concluded.
Ed Affanador, a member of the New Jersey Army National Guard who was wounded and permanently disabled during the response to Sept. 11, was an invited speaker. An advocate of the Wounded Warrior Project, he spoke to the crowd about how the program has helped veterans get back on their feet.

The program concluded with the veterans and guests joining with Somers Point vocalist Deidre Lynch to sing “God Bless America.”

Bill Coulter of the Korean War Veterans snaps a salute during the presentation of the colors at the Veterans Day ceremony Sunday, Nov. 11 in Somers Point. Bill Coulter of the Korean War Veterans snaps a salute during the presentation of the colors at the Veterans Day ceremony Sunday, Nov. 11 in Somers Point.

Margaret Gargone, 91, of Somers Point is a veteran of the Women’s Air Corps who served from 1942-1945. Margaret Gargone, 91, of Somers Point is a veteran of the Women’s Air Corps who served from 1942-1945.


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