Next month, Americans will remember the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the Allies’ bloody landing in France that led to Hitler’s defeat.
But the sacrifices of American servicemen and women did not end in World War II, speakers reminded Monday’s Memorial Day gathering on the Morristown Green.
“The battle for freedom is never totally won,” said state Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco (R-25th Dist.), noting that nearly 7,000 American lives have been lost in the Middle East over the last two decades.
Morristown High School Bugler Conor Lenehan played Taps, and Morristown Councilwoman Alison Deeb recited names of 17 Greater Morristown veterans–including her father, World War II veteran Edward Deeb–who have passed away over the last year.
Slideshow photos by Bill Lescohier. Click/ hover on images for captions:
The day began with the laying of wreaths at veterans’ graves in the Evergreen, Holy Rood and Beth Israel cemeteries, and also at the J. Robert Tracey Veterans Memorial Park and the World War I / Cenotaph Monument in Morristown and the National Guard Armory in Morris Township.
Ceremonies followed at the Township municipal building. Veterans, Scouts and Little Leaguers then paraded up South Street to the historic Green. Police, firefighters, and a military firing squad were joined there by elected officials, on a warm, sunny morning that signaled the unofficial start of summer.
Video playlist by Bill Lescohier for MorristownGreen.com. Toggle icon on top left for speeches by Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco, Mayors Tim Dougherty and Jeff Grayzel, and Councilwoman Alison Deeb:
While Monday’s speeches lasted only a few minutes, sentinels guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery around the clock, 365 days a year, in tribute to the fallen, said Ceremonial Officer James Cavanaugh.
“This is about what happens yesterday, today and tomorrow,” said Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty. “Young men and women are continually giving their lives for our freedom. And for that we must be grateful and never forget.”
Township Mayor Jeff Grayzel asked spectators to thank fallen heroes by helping veterans cope with the physical and emotional scars of war, and via other forms of community service.
“The veterans have shown us the way of service to our country. We should all take a moment of our lives to give back to our community to make it a better place for everyone,” Grayzel said.
Memorial Day 2019 video by Manny and Delia Vince-Cruz:
Deeb sounded a similar theme, praising her late father and his “Greatest Generation” as examples of “focus, discipline and courage.
“Their legacy is profound,” the councilwoman said.
Edward Deeb, who died last May at 95, and others from his era, endured hardships of the Great Depression yet never flinched when their country needed them, Alison Deeb said. Even in his last days, her father showed a steely determination to overcome the disabilities of old age, she said.
Like many veterans, her dad spoke little about his war experiences. Alison Deeb said she gleaned glimpses, and wisdom, from a memoir he penned when he was in his late 80s:
“What is your toughest battle? Find it, identify it, seek it out, whether it’s in your mind or physically, and go for it. Have faith… anything is possible. Life is short. Cherish every moment. Seize the day. Hardship builds will and character.”
Greater Morristown veterans who passed away between 2018 and 2019 Memorial Days:
Morristown Green correspondent Bill Lescohier contributed to this report.