The rain held up just long enough for the beautifully simple and solemn Veterans Day ceremony to go forward.
Approximately 50 people attended the fifth annual observation held Nov. 11 at the Northern New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery. In attendance were John Harrigan, President of the Wallkill Valley Northern New Jersey Vietnam Veterans, and members instrumental in establishing the cemetery, located on North Church Road in Sparta.
The 11 a.m. tribute began with the presentation of the colors, the Pledge of Allegiance, and invocations and prayers led by Harrigan and the group’s chaplain. Harrigan also presented a brief history of Veterans Day.
“Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919, remembering the first anniversary of the end of World War I,” he said.
The number 11 is significant in this holiday. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 signaled the end of the war. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor all veterans, living and dead.
After a moving performance of Taps, attendees distributed American flags to the graves of all the veterans in the cemetery.