SOUTH BRUNSWICK: Township honors veterans

By Ed Birch, Special Writer
South Brunswick Township honored its veterans Monday during the annual ceremony at the Municipal Building.
   ”Although today is the day that America chooses to honor our veterans, I remind everyone here that every day is a day that each one of us should thank a veteran” said Mayor Frank Gambatese to the overflow crowd.
   The program featured veterans representing each of the branches of the armed services laying a wreath at the township memorial in front of Town Hall.
   ”Our township schools all sponsor programs that allow our students to learn about the service to our country that is done by our country’s veterans” said South Brunswick Schools Superintendent Dr. Gary McCartney. “Our schools are open today, and our students learn these facts in their history classes.”
   The program was opened and closed with the South Brunswick High School Vikings Marching Band led by Mark Kraft.
   Mr. Kraft’s wife, Virgina Kraft, performed the “Star Spangled Banner.”
   The South Brunswick Police Department Honor Guard and a group of local veterans presented the nation’s colors and military flags.
   State government representatives Sen. Christopher Bateman and Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli attended the ceremony, speaking of patriotism during their remarks and they also thanked the assembled crowd for their support during the recent elections.
   The program closed with Noah Brown, a trumpet player from the Marching Band and an honor guard from local veterans groups led the rifle salute to the nation’s veterans.
   The annual holiday began as Armistice Day in remembrance of the end of World War I.
   According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, the holiday was officially recognized into federal law in 1938 as a day “to be dedicated to world peace.”
   Following World War II and the Korean War, the name was changed to Veterans Day in 1954.
   According to the website, the Uniform Holiday Bill was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day.
   It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states, however, did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.
   Ten years later, the celebration was moved back to the original date of Nov. 11 on whichever day of the week that it happens to fall on.
   ”The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to Nov. 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good,” According to the site.