Veterans Day: More Than Just a Holiday
Another Veterans Day in the history books. But while many people were rushing to shopping malls for those supposedly "incredible savings," or enjoying a three day weekend, many attended remembrance ceremonies around the nation and here at the Jersey Shore.
In Toms River, Ocean County presented their annual Veterans Day Parade marching in the downtown area yesterday morning. While there were many who turned out, it was a far lesser crowd than that of the Halloween Parade down the same street a mere few weeks ago.
Veterans Day is an official United States holiday that honors people who have served in the many branches of armed services. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. During the parade, many of the service members we spoke with tell us they understand the reason why the crowd was sparser, but they still feel saddened by it. One veteran from World War II told me "it is a total shame that the younger generations aren't as knowledgeable about what we all did. It's a lesson I hope their parents and their educators cover at home and in the classroom."
A Vietnam War Vet said "I don't think people who aren't in the military or who have family and friends over there can really ever grasp what we feel on a day like this. We are all connected - like a brotherhood of sorts. Many of us have families in the service or have been involved for years. Never forget us. Never forget that without many of us, the freedoms you all have wouldn't have been possible."
Parents with school-age children echoed that sentiment, saying it's vitally important for their kids to honor the men and women who served. One woman from Brick took her kids out of school to be there for the parade and ceremony.
The Navy Lakehurst Color Guard helped lead the parade and seven marching bands from around Ocean County were on hand for the event. There were veterans marching along with civic groups, Girl Scouts and even vintage cars.
The event featured a Wreath-laying ceremony and even a flyover by the Ocean Air Support Squadron.
Another veteran from World War II said "the children of today need to know what we did. A day of community service or helping others would be a nice gesture, maybe for future Veterans Day's.