Remembering their service in Secaucus

New mural is dedicated to town's veterans
Secaucus Mayor Michael J. Gonnelli, members of the Town Council and veterans after unveiling the mural.
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Secaucus Mayor Michael J. Gonnelli, members of the Town Council and veterans after unveiling the mural.

The Secaucus Annual Veterans Day Ceremony on Nov. 11 included the unveiling of a new mural at the Secaucus post of the American Legion on Second Street.

The mural with the words, “All gave some, some gave all” coats a brick wall, just above a plaque containing the names of more than a dozen Secaucus residents who lost their lives in military service.

This included, from the Vietnam War, Raymond Schopmann; from World War II, Armondo A. Alvino,  William C. Mansfield, Thomas G. Blondel, Edmund R. Naters, Howard Eckel, Edward C. Riedel, Anthony F. Fusco, Martin J. Sampson,  Angus J. Gillis,  Frank L. Ivanoski, Paul Shetic,  Fred H. Koelle, Jr.,  Adrian H. Smit,  Louis A. Lanza,  Arnold S. Sparmann, and  Henry P. Walters; and from World War I, Joseph Hassenforder.

Mayor Michael Gonnelli, members of the Town Council, and many veterans attended the ceremony.

“We honor veterans today, but we want you to know that we are grateful for your service every day of the year,” said Gonnelli.

This year’s ceremony coincided with the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Veterans Day was first celebrated on Nov. 11, 1921 when an unknown soldier’s remains were interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a site overlooking the Potomac River, a site that  once was the estate of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The day became a point of reference for veterans throughout the United States, giving universal recognition of the end of World War 1.

The war ended at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, or “the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month” as many say.

Armistice Day, as it was known then, became a national holiday in 1926. It was believed then that World War I would be the war to end all wars, something unfortunately disproven when violence again erupted in Europe within a decade, leading eventually to the Second World War.

In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation designating Nov. 11 as Veterans Day, this with the intent of honoring not only World War I veterans, but all veterans who fought for America. Two more unidentified veterans were buried in Arlington, one killed in WWII and one in the Korean Conflict.

In 1973 arrangements were made for the burial of an unknown soldier from the Vietnam War, though no unidentified solider was found until 1984.

“To honor these men, the 3rd US Infantry Honor Guard keeps constant vigil,” McClure said.

The last Secaucus vet from World War I died at the Elms Senior building in the early 1990s.

Secaucus saw one combat death during WWI, Joseph Hassenforder, for whom a plaque was decided outside of City Hall.

Hassenforder, who enlisted in the U.S. Army, attained the rank of corporal. He served with 3rd Division, 38th Infantry Regimen. He was listed as “killed in action” on July 15, 1918, and was buried in Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, Fere-en-Tardenois, France.

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