MONTVILLE, NJ (CBSNew York) – Hundreds of people gathered in New Jersey on Thursday to honor those who have served our country.
Choppy sounds and sunny skies set the stage for an emotional Veterans Day ceremony at VFW Post 5481 in Montville, CBS2’s John Elliott reported.
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A crowd of over 200 gathered to honor and celebrate each branch of the military.
It was moving to hear memories of World War II from veterans like Tom Jones, who lost 145 of his seafarers in a suicide bomber attack in the South China Sea, Elliott said.
“What I will never forget was the funeral the next day when they slipped off the side of the ship in the water,” said Jones, a WWII Navy veteran. “Their parents, their relatives, have never been able to see them and say goodbye to them.”
US Army veterinarian Gerry Gemian, 99, has served in the South Pacific.
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“I remember my guys coming by my side, running on the beaches,” Gemian said.
“I feel it is my duty as an educator to keep their spirits alive and let students know how important our veterans are,” said Rick Crescente of Robert R. Lazar Middle School. .
Guest speaker George Nadar narrowly escaped death in the Beirut Embassy bombing in 1983. He was here to pay tribute to the Marines and other servicemen who did not survive.
“We all come from a place that was looking for a better life and the sacrifice of the armed forces is the reason we can be here,” Nadar said.
“America must remember those who served and must also remember what we can do for them now. We have to know and help with their benefits, help them with their lives, ”said VFW Post 5481 Commander Ken Hanzl.
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Elliott’s father served in World War II and instilled in him a great respect for all who serve. As the child of a vet, Elliott said it was great to see that a true spirit of appreciation is still strong today.