Hillsborough honors veterans at annual breakfast event

Hillsborough residents and veterans, Keith Marley (left) a retired Navy vet and Carlo Buonviaggio (right) a retired Army vet, partake in the 14th annual “Salute to Veterans Breakfast” hosted at the township municipal building on May 25. Photo by Thomas Wiedmann

As part of Hillsborough Township’s annual acknowledgment to local veterans on Memorial Day, the municipality held its 14th annual “Salute to Veterans Breakfast.”

The event was held at the township municipal building on May 25 when township officials, residents and local service men and women gathered to enjoy a catered breakfast sponsored by multiple organizations and businesses in the area.

Although the breakfast kicks off the municipality’s holiday services, which are be followed by a Memorial Day parade and ceremony at the Garden of Hono, Hillsborough Township Mayor Frank DelCore explained that the breakfast is one of the township most significant events each year.

“This is another one of those moments as mayor that I am truly honored and humbled to stand before you, in this room filled with so many heroes and patriots,” DelCore said. “It gives me, this township committee and our Hillsborough community a tremendous sense of pride to show our respect to all of you here today – our veterans.”

Following DelCore’s opening remarks at the ceremony, joined by Hillsborough Township Committee members  Doug Tomson, Gloria McCauley, Shawn Lipani and Olivia Holmes, a candle lighting ceremony was held as part of the community’s “Table of Honor and Remembrance.”

The ceremony was led by McCauley as Holmes lit the candles. McCauley explained that nine years ago, when she served as mayor, this element was added to the township’s commemoration program.

She said it had been set aside in memory of those who have paid the ultimate price for the country’s freedom, and that the empty table signifies the municipality’s remembrance of the sacrifices that have been made in defense of the country.

After the candle lighting, Mayor DelCore revealed that there was a prepared table set off to the side of the room, which remained unseated, another tradition the municipality holds maintains each year.

Mayor DelCore said that this tradition of setting a separate table is in honor of the nation’s prisoners of war and missing comrades, which has been in place since the end of the Vietnam War.

The year 2018 was the first year that the township implemented this element into its program. Mayor DelCore declared that he felt it fitting to keep this tradition.

“The manner in which this table is decorated is full of special symbols to help us remember our brothers and sisters in arms, those POWs or MIAs that are still unaccounted for,” Mayor DelCore said. “The table before you is a place of honor, set for one.  It is our way of symbolizing the fact that these brave brothers and sisters in arms are missing from our midst. We remember them and honor them with this symbolic table.”

Later on in the program, Mayor DelCore shared his thoughts on what he valued most about Memorial Day, and acknowledged that a common love for the country helps transcend social boundaries.

“This commemorative program and our local ceremonies depict all that I value most about this holiday.  The opportunity to honor those war-dead, recognize our veterans and show gratitude to those who are still serving our nation,” he said. “Those that we honor today, all of these men and women, were different – different in their race, nationality, socio-economic background, but in the end, they shared one very important thing in common – a deep love and patriotism for the United States of America.

Mayor DelCore then said that each year, Hillsborough Township asks the veterans to lead the municipality in remembering and paying tribute to those who perished in their military service, and chose resident and Retired Navy Captain Timothy J. Jordan to serve as the Grand Marshal for the township parade.

Jordan served more than 30 years in a variety of duty assignments in the reserves and activity duty.  During his deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006, 2008 and 2009, Jordan served with two separate Marine Corps Commands and the Navy Seabee’s.

His personal military decorations include the Defence Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Forces Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy Achievement Medal (two awards) Operation Iraqi Freedom OIF, Operation Enduring Freedom OEF and various other ribbons and unit awards.

Alongside honors bestowed upon Jordan, the program also acknowledged previous grand marshals who served in the Memorial Day festivities. The previous recipients included Stan and Jon Lapidow; Becky Lapidow; Mildred Murphy; Bob Brock; Ted Dima; Peter Biondi and Armondo Consalvo; Philip J. and Philip D. Gentile; Rob Movshin; Chris and Jon Conroy; Leo J. Hornsby; Fred Quick; Ron Newsome; and Tim Coyle.

To close out the ceremony, the annual program acknowledges each service man and woman in the room with the “Annual Roll Call of Veterans.” The ceremony gives an opportunity for each veteran in the room to stand up, introduce themselves and a short background about their services in the armed forces. Even the wives of deceased veterans spoke on behalf of their late partners.

Following the roll call, the room made their way into the municipal building parking lot to carry out the rest of the day’s festivities and services.

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