A day of celebration in Monmouth Beach

Patty Booth O’Neill
There were a few mentions of the sun attempting to peek through the clouds on Monday morning during the annual Monmouth Beach Memorial Day celebration at the Veterans’ Honor Roll on Beach Road.     

It never did peek through, but it didn’t rain either. Considering the weather recently, that was something to be thankful for.

There were 31 bricks added recently to the site located next to Wells Fargo Bank along with a sculpture of a figure in full battlefield gear. The upgrades were made by MB residents Jim Denker, John Sheeran and Al Miller just in time for the celebration.

MB Veteran’s Honor Roll (the sign) lists the names of residents who have served in the military. The upper portion lists  World War II Vets. The lower portion lists those who have served in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.

With Mayor Susan Howard, Commissioner Dave Stickle and residents looking on, MB Veteran’s Association President John Sheeran made introductions and then  turned the mike over to Marine Vet Mike Canavan. Canavan gave a little history lesson about how Memorial Day was started after the Civil War as not to forget those who had lost their lives.

“Does anyone here know which state was the first to observe Memorial Day?” It turns out Canavan had a ringer in the crowd who  quickly raised his hand. “This gentleman here?” Canavan asked.

“New York.”
“New York, excellent. What is your name?”
“Jack”
“Jack what?”

“Jack Canavan,” who turned out to be a very proud Mike Canavan’s grandson.

After a moment of silence Lance Corporal Matthew Gorta, USMC, Bugler, placed a wreath next to the MB Veteran’s Honor Roll, then Canavan introduced former Lt. Gov. and Blue Star Mom Kim Guadagno.

“Let us not forget to take a moment to think of, or maybe say a prayer for those military service members who have ultimately paid the price so that we can, quite frankly, stand here a free people, a free state, a free country.” Guadagno began.

She also asked to honor the thousands of Gold Star families across the United States who have lost a family member. “Such families know that freedom is not free.” She remembered the families of those who are currently serving, speaking about her  son who in the Air Force and will be deploying to South Korea in July.

From there the ceremony moved across the street to the firehouse and then at noon to the Monmouth Beach Cultural Center.