By Coleen Burnett
Eatontown — It’s very common for people to say on Nov. 11 that Veterans Day should last more than a single day due to all we owe those who serve. Eatontown held multiple events to mark it, including a concert the week before, a parade the day before, and its annual Wampum Park ceremonies on Veterans Day.
The ceremonies on November 3 included a remembrance and a concert that was sponsored by the Eatontown Historical Society.
For the seventh consecutive year, the ceremony took place on the porch of the Historical Society’s house at 75 Broad Street. The speakers stood on the porch and remembered those who did not come home from war.
An Honor Garden, filled with American flags, graced the front lawn of the Museum. Each of the flags were tagged with the name of a veteran or someone who is currently on active duty in the armed forces.
The Garden has grown from about 50 flags to somewhere in the neighborhood of 200.
Phyllis Trask, the Chairperson of the Historical Commission, noted that many of the living veterans of World War II are now in their 80s and 90s. “They were ordinary people who responded to extraordinary times.”
“Thank you for answering the call to duty,” she said.
Everybody was then invited across the street to the Senior Center for a free concert by the Florian Schantz Jazz Combo, who played a series of songs that were popular in World War I.
On Nov. 10, the day before Veterans Day, a parade was held, marching down Broad Street.
This is the second year in a row Eatontown has held a parade. It included veterans, those serving, scouts, school marching bands, and many borough officials and departments.
At the Nov. 11 ceremony, Mayor Anthony Talerico said that Eatontown understood the importance of veterans, as the Fort Monmouth Army base operated here, and was a key part of the community.
“Eatontown is very lucky — we don’t just wave our flags and observe the military on TV, newspapers and social media posts. For nearly 100 years we lived alongside the men and women who made it happen,” he said. “Eatontown is a better and more diverse community because of the men and women who passed through those gates for one hundred years”.
The keynote speaker of the day was Col. Samuel Fuoco, who said those who served came from all walks of life.
“They did not go to war because they loved fighting. They were called to be part of something bigger than themselves. They were ordinary people who responded in ordinary ways in extreme times,” he said.