For many Americans, Memorial Day signifies the beginning of summer. It’s a day for picnics, barbecues, and family gatherings. It’s a day at the beach; a sign that it’s time to open up the swimming pool; a sign that the kids will soon be finished with school.
But in the midst of these festivities, I believe too many of us overlook the holiday’s true meaning. Memorial Day, after all, was founded as a day of remembrance of those who’ve died in service to our country; of those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice in defending our country’s freedom throughout the world – from the Civil War to the World Wars, to Vietnam and Korea, to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Memorial Day is one of our nation’s most significant holidays, when we remember those who selflessly laid down their lives to ensure that we can live our lives free from fear and oppression.
Locally, it is a day to remember young men like Lt. Col. John Spahr and Capt. Gregory Dalessio, who were killed in Iraq in 2005 and 2008; and Lance Cpl. Jeremy Kane, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
This year, instead of simply celebrating a day off from work and school, I invite all Cherry Hill residents to join us for the Township’s annual Memorial Day tribute, at 11 a.m. Monday, May 26, on the grounds of the Township Municipal Complex.
Along with members of American Legion Post 372, Jewish War Veterans Post 126, and men and women from around our community, we will gather together to honor these hometown heroes and the more than 1.3 million others who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of the United States throughout history.
The afternoon also includes recognition of veterans who passed away in 2013, a musical tribute to our Armed Forces by the Cherry Hill Pine Barons Chorus, and the placement of the POW/MIA Chair as a reminder that even though our soldiers are not here, there is still a space for them. Brigadier General James Grant will serve as the event’s keynote speaker.
While this is a day to remember the fallen, we can also never forget the heroism and selflessness displayed by all of Cherry Hill’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines throughout history. I would like to personally invite any veterans and active-duty military living in Cherry Hill to join us as well, so that we may also recognize their service.
The ceremony will take place rain or shine and is an opportunity for Cherry Hill residents to take a moment to say “thank you” to those who continue to serve, remember those who have died, and acknowledge the sacrifices that our soldiers’ loved ones make, as well.
We are proud to partner with American Legion Post 372 and Jewish War Veterans Post 126 and ShopRite Supermarkets of Cherry Hill to present this day of remembrance, and I invite all attendees to enjoy a free barbecue lunch after the ceremony, provided by ShopRite Supermarkets of Cherry Hill.
For more information on this event, please contact the Cherry Hill Recreation Department at (856) 488-7868 or email email@example.com.
As President John F. Kennedy once said, “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it remembers; the men it honors.”
We owe it to the heroes who have died and the loved ones they left behind to make sure their sacrifices are never forgotten, and their service to this nation is always honored. Please join me as we fulfill that mission.