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The premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and announcements in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Dec 05, 2017

New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Service

By Lori Draz

Hundreds of people filled the parking lots at the PNC Bank Arts Center to attend the Veterans Day ceremony held at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Holmdel. They came in decorated trucks and in a parade of Harley Davidsons. They braved the unseasonably cold temperatures and slowly made the long walk to ring the amphitheater and pray for all veterans.

This ceremony is always one of the largest in the state and, despite the brisk wintery weather, veterans came from all corners of the state, many traveling over an hour and a half to join in the fellowship and to thank the brave men and women for their service. There was not an open space to be had.

There was, of course, the presentation of the colors, the singing of the National Anthem, and numerous speeches that informed the crowd about the work of the memorial and the adjacent educational center and the assistance services they offer veterans.

The keynote speaker, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, gave an inspiring speech, vowing to stay involved in fundraising and veterans’ affairs after her term in office is complete. As a Blue Star Mother, she shared that her dedication for veterans is both a personal and an American passion. You can see her speech on The Journal’s Facebook page at The Journal NJ.

Next, Monmouth County Freeholder Deputy Director John Curley gave a rousing speech, reminding everyone that “this is the greatest country on the face of the earth, and these brave men and women are to be thanked for keeping it that way.”

Following him, Gerry Appel, NJVVMF, spoke about the memorial’s unique In Memory Program that honors those who served and died as a result of the war in Vietnam, but whose names are not on the memorial. Six new names, including Nicholas Marx of Belford, were inducted at the ceremony, and representatives of their families shared biographies of the inductees.

The program was long, yet everyone stood in rapt attention, and the frequent sniffles were not because of the cold. It was clear that the respect for these soldiers and all active duty soldiers is a source of deep pride and respect, as it should be for all.

The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial and the Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center are located within sight of each other on the grounds of the PNC Bank Arts Center. The memorial is a moving acknowledgment of the valor displayed by the New Jersey residents who never returned from Southeast Asia and commemorates the courage shown by all who served during the Vietnam conflict. Its companion project, the Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center, presents factual and unbiased information about the era, using exhibits, audio/visual presentations, structured programs, and guest speakers. Supplemental programs, such as veterans’ biographies, are intended to recognize and document the contributions made by New Jersey’s veterans so that their service to our nation will be preserved for future generations. To learn more, visit