Wreaths Placed To Remember Veterans

Brick Historic Preservation Commission hosted two ceremonies, honoring veterans at Gravelly Graveyard and Osbornville Protestant Church. (Photo courtesy Brick Township)

By Alyssa Riccardi and Chris Lundy

  JERSEY SHORE – Several organizations throughout Ocean and Monmouth Counties came out to lay wreaths on graves of those who might have been forgotten during the holiday season.

  Wreaths Across America’s mission is to “Remember, Honor and Teach.” Throughout the year, the organization works in multiple ways to show veterans and their families that the community will “never forget.”

Howell Heritage and Historical Society hosted another year at Cedar Lawn Cemetery. (Photo courtesy Howell Historical Society)

  This year, more than 35,000 locations across the country participated in this annual event. The remembrance wreaths are laid in memory of those who have served and are serving in the US Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines.

  In Brick Township, the Brick Historic Preservation Commission hosted two ceremonies on December 17: One at Gravelly Graveyard and the second at Osbornville Protestant Church.

Present at the ceremony was Mayor John Ducey along with several council members. (Photo courtesy Brick Township)

  This year was the 5th Wreaths Across America Ceremony held at Gravelly Graveyard, which holds a total of 11 veteran graves. Present were Mayor John Ducey, Council President Vince Minichino, Council Vice-President Lisa Crate, Councilwoman Heather deJong, Councilman Perry Albanese and Councilman Derrick Ambrosino, along with about 25 people to help lay the wreaths.

  Over at Osbornville Protestant Church about 35 to 40 people were present, including several town council members, to honor the 60 plus veterans that are buried at the cemetery.

  “During each ceremony, we remind the volunteers that we are not there to ‘decorate graves.’ We are there to remember the fallen – not their deaths but their lives,” said Christine Schiess, Chairperson for the Brick Township Historic Preservation Commission. “We encourage every volunteer who places a wreath on a veteran’s grave to say the veteran’s name aloud and take a moment to thank them for their service to our country.”

  In Howell Township, the Howell Heritage and Historical Society yet again hosted a ceremony at Cedar Lawn Cemetery, also known as Southard Cemetery. The cemetery holds 120 veterans, who were all honored this year my locals and volunteers.

Several people came out to honor veterans and volunteer to lay wreaths on graves. (Photo courtesy Howell Historical Society)

  The ceremony included local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts who held the Presentation of Colors as well as helped lay wreaths on the graves. Ceremonies were also held at Farmingdale Evergreen Cemetery, Ardena Baptist Cemetery, and Adelphia Cemetery.

  In Lacey, approximately 500 wreaths were placed at Good Luck Cemetery, Committeewoman Peggy Sue Juliano said.

  “This was a vision borne by the Iapicco family and with help from the Historical Society – they made it happen,” she said. She thanked the volunteers on behalf of the rest of the Township Committee. 

Mayor Carmen Amato, Chief Kevin Santucci, Councilman James Byrnes, Lt. Brian Woermer, Councilwoman Sophia Gingrich, Sgt. Taylor Butler and Sgt. Clark Baranyay participated in Wreaths Across America in honor of our nation’s veterans. (Photo courtesy Berkeley Township)

  “I was honored to speak on behalf of my fellow governing body members but it is truly a thank you to the people of our community. I have watched as our citizens come together for those in need; no matter the circumstances, you always step up to the plate. We are a community of patriotism and compassion, and in today’s world, both are vital to keep on the forefront for all generations to come,” she said on social media. “The two words, thanks and giving, go hand in hand when I think of the men and women who served our country every day and to those that made the ultimate sacrifice. ‘Thank you’ to our active-duty military service members, abroad and at home, for always being, ready, willing and able to serve our country.”

  Other towns who also hosted ceremonies with Wreaths Across America included Toms River, Berkeley, and Point Pleasant.