Point Beach honors veterans with community tradition

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PHOTO COURTESY OF POINT BEACH RECREATION Council members Doug Vitale, Mayor Paul Kanitra, Arlene Testa and Caryn Byrnes joined hundreds on Memorial Day to honor veterans.

POINT PLEASANT BEACH — Hundreds of residents came out to the borough’s downtown on Monday to participate in an annual Point Beach tradition, the Memorial Day Bike Parade. 

Cruisers, road and mountain bikes sported American flags and the red, white and blue as the group rode down Arnold Avenue toward the borough’s Memorial Park, where officials honored those who have served to keep our nation safe. 

Mayor Paul Kanitra, Police Chief Joseph Michigan, keynote speaker Capt. Robby Neil of the U.S. Marine Corps, Point Pleasant Beach High School student Kathleen McLaughlin, council members and Father Pedro de Oliveira of St. Peter Church all spoke at the ceremony honoring veterans on the special anniversary. 

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Point Pleasant Beach Recreation hosted this year’s bike parade and memorial, keeping a tradition in the borough. 

According to recreation liaison and Councilman Doug Vitale, the day was special for all as residents and visitors came out to honor and remember. 

“It was the first nice day of the weekend and it was a great turnout,” said the councilman. 

“The ceremony was a touching tribute to honor the men and women who have lost their lives fighting for our country,” said Mr. Vitale. 

Council President Arlene Testa and Councilwoman Caryn Byrnes echoed Mr. Vitale’s comments. 

“It was a beautiful ceremony,” said Ms. Testa. “I got a little teary-eyed when they played taps, so it was very emotional honoring our heroes and our brave people who have fought for the freedom of this country.”

Ms. Byrnes said it was heartwarming to see everyone coming together for such a touching event. 

“What a sweet tradition was executed,” said Ms. Byrnes. “It was just so enjoyed by everybody — the families that came out, the young ones in attendance. They rode their bikes side by side with teachers and neighbors and friends.”

Mr. Vitale thanked all who came out to celebrate the weekend and honor those who have served. 

“I want to thank Chief Michigan for helping me organize the ceremony,” said Mr. Vitale. “I also want to thank Point Pleasant Beach freshman Kathleen McLaughlin for singing the national anthem and Robby Neil for giving a keynote speech that I still think about today, it was tremendous.”

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