On May 23, North Bergen residents gathered at the township’s recreation center to take part in some somber reflection, honoring members of the United States military who died while serving their country.
The ceremony was led by Donald DeLeo, a former Hudson County surrogate.
Pastor Paul Havilland of the Hudson Vineyard Church gave an invocation and benediction, praying for peace.
“Let us pray that all of our men and women know that they are appreciated and that their service is not in vain,” Havilland said before asking for a moment of silence.
Other prayers were led by Dottie Duffet, a former president of the local VFW auxiliary.
Elected officials reflected on the holiday’s significance in their own lives. Each of them either served, or had immediate family who served in conflicts stretching back to World War I.
“If not for these veterans, men and women, we would not be standing on free land as we do today,” Commissioner Allen Pascual said. “We have many liberties and privileges, all on behalf of them.”
Commissioner Hugo Cabrera served in the Cold War, as a navy sailor aboard a submarine.
“It is no small feat ensuring that we all continue to have our freedoms,” he said. “This three-day weekend often involves us enjoying hot dogs and hamburgers, but in the back of our minds I think everyone remembers those who never came back.”
The North Bergen High School marching band played the National Anthem and other patriotic tunes.
The service was closed by members of the honor guard from Edward McDowell VFW Post 2648 and American Legion Post 33. They performed a multi-gun salute, followed by Taps played by the marching band’s buglers.
Later in the month, patriotic ceremonies are scheduled to continue on Flag Day, June 14. A parade down Bergenline Avenue will conclude in a flag retirement ceremony held at Miller Stadium.