SPRING LAKE — Local veterans and town officials met at the borough’s Memorial Monument on Wednesday to celebrate Veterans Day and honor all who have served.
Spring Lake Fire Company No.1 hoisted the American colors high above 5th Avenue and many police officers joined the crowd for the event, welcoming the honored guests from the Spring Lake American Legion Post 432.
The annual event began promptly at 11:11 a.m., honoring the end of World War I, when the war officially ended in the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
The ceremony started off with a Pledge of Allegiance and singing of the Star Spangled banner by those in attendance as well as a prayer.
American Legion Commander John Patterson gave a short speech in which he explained the unique experiences of U.S. soldiers, and what his time in the military has taught him in his life.
“For me in particular, being in the military taught me to be self reliant, taught me discipline, it taught me order — which sometimes drives my family nuts …” he said.
“But there’s two important things that I carry with me from my military service that are very special to me, especially in these times. The first is teamwork. I learned from being in the military that 100 men doing things right indivually is not as good as 100 soldiers doing them together. I learned the objective is more important than the person,” he said. “That teamwork has never left me.”
“But the most important thing I learned was tolerance,” he continued, adding that he grew up in a homogenous community.
“When I got to go into the military, I realized not everybody looked like me and not everybody talked like me … But one thing that we realized once we were in is that we were all in together. And how were we going to do this? Well we found the common thread, the thread that binds us together as soldiers: we are Americans and we are humans.”
Spring Lake Mayor Jennifer Naughton said, “While 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us today, we’re reminded that our troops at home and overseas often serve in extraordinarily difficult conditions and our presence today honors their service.”
“In times of prosperity and in wonderful communities like ours all over the country, it’s easy to forget especially on a day like this that we remain involved in various conflicts all over the world.”
“We stand here this morning for one simple reason: to recognize the sacrifice of America’s troops and our veterans and to honor the memory of those who are no longer with us.”
The names of all of the fallen soldiers from Spring Lake were read out in silence, each with a tolling of the bell, before taps were played in their honor.
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