By Patty Booth O’Neill
Memorial Day was held on Monday as it is every year in front of the Veteran’s monument at Long Branch City Hall led by Veteran David Brown and Mayor John Pallone
The morning opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and God Bless America sung by Diane Johantgen as the Color Guard presented the Flag.
The ceremony progressed as usual, the only difference being the absence of Long Branch students, who won the “What Veteran’s Day Means To Me” essay contest this year and their parents. Long Branch Superintendent Michael Salvatore proudly read the essay winners names: Uzziah Puryear, 5th grader from the George L. Catrambone School, Jordan Juliano, 8th grader from the LB Middle School and LBHS senior Yaleno Gavrilovic.
Reverend Aaron Gibson of the Second Baptist Church in Long Branch led the audience in prayer. Rabbi Braun from the Congregation Brothers of Israel, also spoke and offered a prayer as did Reverend Caroline Bennett from McLaughlin Pentecostal Church, who closed ceremony with prayer.
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Long Branch retired Veteran Colonel Avery Grant spoke about those who lost their lives and expressed gratitude for their service. He also read names and ages of local veterans who lost their lives in Vietnam ending with Jerry Morgan, who was 21 years old when he was killed in action. Mr. Grant invited everyone to visit Jerry Morgan Park on Long Branch Ave. and the monument erected for every Long Branch resident who have lost their lives in the war.
Mayor John Pallone called representatives up to place flowers on the monument ranging from Veterans, fireman police officers and Rose Widdis, Mario Vieira and Dr. Anita Voogt members of the Long Branch Council.