Honoring Fallen Service Members
Americans plan to gather at cemeteries, memorials and monuments in New Jersey and nationwide to honor fallen military service members on Memorial Day.
There are several parades around the state today including Freehold's parade which kicks off at 1 p.m. along Main Street.Other communities holding parades today include Roxbury/Succasunna, West Windsor, Readington, Medford, Barnegat and Glassboro.
Hundreds of veterans and their families are expected to attend the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation's Memorial Day ceremony with guest speaker Retired Brig. General Vincent Stahl. The ceremony will also include the presentation of two scholarships to New Jersey high school seniors and the induction of five Vietnam Veterans into the Memorial's "In Memory" program. The Memorial is located at the PNC Bank Arts Center at exit 116 of the Garden State Parkway.
Governor Christie posted a Memorial Day message on his Facebook page.
“Today, we pause to remember the brave men and women who paid the ultimate price protecting our nation’s freedom. While we can never come close to fully repaying these heroes for their sacrifice, it is our solemn obligation to take care of our veterans and their families when they return home from war. On this Memorial Day, I encourage all New Jerseyans to join me in honoring the courageous members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard. It is because of their service that America remains free and a beacon of strength, courage and freedom across the globe.”
Speaking at Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, President Obama said he worries that the country's servicemen and women aren't being fully appreciated in an era in which "most Americans are not directly touched by war." He said he couldn't explain that phenomenon but said it might have something to do with the all-volunteer military force and advanced technology that now permits the United States to accomplish some military missions with far fewer personnel.
But Obama did say that even as "we turn a page" away from Iraq, and Afghanistan by the end of 2014, "let us never forget that the nation is still at war."
He said that some troops and military families "mention to me their concern about whether the country fully appreciates" them.
Another wreath-laying ceremony is planned at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park in New York City. The park is a tribute to President Roosevelt's famous speech supporting freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
In one of several ceremonies honoring Americans killed in Afghanistan, the city of South Sioux City, Neb., plans to unveil a statue honoring Navy Petty Officer 1st Class John Douangdara, a dog handler for the SEALs killed in a 2011 helicopter crash.
The Associated Press contributed to this story