A crowd of a few hundred Highland Park residents that included children from the local schools turned out today for the annual Veterans Day observances.
The event began with a quiet ceremony at the Doughboy Monument on Raritan Avenue. The ceremony included brief remarks by local dignitaries, the laying of the wreath at the foot of the monument, a 21-gun salute, and then the parade, which ran the length of Raritan Avenue into New Brunswick.
“We thrive off of your support, and it is much appreciated,” said parade Grand Marshal William Bonura.
Mr. Bonura, a former corporal with the U.S. Marine Corps, served for two tours of duty in Afghanistan. Honorably discharged on Sept. 14, 2001, he is now a police sergeant with the South Brunswick Police Department.
The parade itself featured members of a number of veterans and civic organizations from New Brunswick and Highland Park, such as Jewish War Veterans Post 133 and Catholic War Veterans.An I beam salvaged from the ruins of the World Trade Center was a featured element in the parade.
Denise Mayfryer of Wayne Street and her family have been attending the Veterans Day parade for years. Her children, now in school, watched the parade this year with their classmates.
“I think it’s important that Americans honor our veterans, and if you’re off from work, you can come over and give them a cap,” Ms. May-Fryer said. “It’s important to import a sense of civic duty.”
Unlike Memorial Day, on which Americans honor all those who fall fallen in the nation’s wars, Veterans Day is set aside to honor all who have served in the military.
The day was established in 1919 by President Wilson to celebrate the end of military conflict in World War I the previous year. Congress officially recognized it in 1926.