Bay Head observes Wreaths Across America Day

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Bay Head observed Wreaths Across America Day Dec. 23 with a small ceremony at Veterans Park Monument, where wreaths were laid by members of the community, or family members of veterans who have served in all branches of the U.S. armed forces, and in honor of the 93,129 servicemen and women from all branches of the military whose last known status was either prisoner of war or missing in action. [COURTESY OF ROBERT HEIN]

BAY HEAD — The borough observed Wreaths Across America Day last week with a small ceremony at the Veterans Park Monument outside borough hall, to ensure those who served are not forgotten this holiday season.

“It was really nice. We just wanted to do a small ceremony so we did not include the school and did not send it out to the public because of the coronavirus … and just kept it to several former servicemen and women who delivered the wreaths to the little monument we have in front of borough hall,” Mayor William Curtis said of the Dec. 23 ceremony.

“We wanted to keep some normalcy and bring some honor to the veterans who have served and those who lost their lives, so we were very fortunate to have it occur. It really was a nice, quiet ceremony and a beautiful day. It was the 10th year that we have done it [and] it is a good cause. There is not enough patriotism and remembrance of the people who have earned our freedom for us by giving their lives … I am very proud to be a part of this and glad that we could do it.”

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Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit founded in 1992 with the mission to “Remember, Honor, Teach,” which every December is carried out by wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and more than 2,100 locations across the country, at sea and abroad. National Wreaths Across America Day was Saturday, Dec. 19.

During last week’s ceremony, wreaths were laid by members of the community, or family members of veterans who have served in all branches of the U.S. armed forces, including the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the Merchant Marines, and in honor of the 93,129 servicemen and women from all branches of the military whose last known status was either prisoner of war or missing in action.

“Laying the wreaths for the men and women who have served is a very powerful statement recognizing the value that those people have and for what they have done for us to maintain our liberties and our freedoms,” said retired U.S. Navy Capt. Richard McGoey.

“Knowing that the event is occurring all around the country makes it even more powerful so it is a very touching and moving moment to participate in. To have the honor of laying the wreath in recognition of the men and women who have so honorably served in our Navy it is a special moment.

“For Bay Head, a small town, to participate I think is also very powerful … and shows that it is important enough to take time and to demonstrate how much it means to us and show our appreciation. It is just a lovely event. It is not large; we don’t get a big turnout, but it is not measured in numbers of people but it is the depth of appreciation and recognition.”

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