By JENNIFER AMATO
NORTH BRUNSWICK — The path to honor is paved with red bricks in North Brunswick.
The township celebrated the rededication of Veterans Park during its Memorial Day ceremony on May 30, encompassing the sacrifice and patriotism of the hundreds of veterans whose names now lay in front of a new monument on Roosevelt Avenue.
“We join together with humble hearts and much community pride as we rededicate the veterans’ memorial site,” said Lou Ann Benson, director of the North Brunswick Department of Parks, Recreation & Community Services. “Our veterans, along with their families, made many sacrifices and answered the call of our 35th president [John F. Kennedy].
A circular area of brick pavers, which list the name, rank and years of service of deceased and living veterans, adorns the new monument. North Brunswick American Legion Post 459 and Milltown VFW Post 2319 participated in the design of the memorial.
“There are hundreds of thousands of American men and women who put their lives on hold, their families on hold, their career, their loved ones, and arrived for a call to service. … We are bold enough in this moment to ask you to infuse this ground with honor. … Make this a place where every boy and girl, every woman and man, can sense the honor these men and women have bestowed on us,” the Rev. Mark McGrath said in his opening prayer, delivered after the Pledge of Allegiance and “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack continued that what paves the hallowed ground in North Brunswick is an immortalization of the names of the people who have served the country.
“Today, and I think probably for a long time into the future, this place we stand right now is the most important place in North Brunswick,” he said.
He said the circular shape of the memorial site should lead residents to righteousness and lead them to right thinking.
“We have to make America a country … [that is] worthy. That’s our job and it begins with each of us. Not just today; the coming days in the future,” Womack said.
After Richard Pender of the American Legion recited President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the North Brunswick Township High School choir sang “God Bless America.”
Womack and Councilman Bob Davis — a veteran himself — then placed a wreath at the monument, as did Fred Smith of Disabled American Veterans Chapter 52 in Edison and Paul Carroll of the American Legion.
Following a moment of silence, members of the VFW took turns reading a tribute. A 21-gun salute preceded the playing of “Taps” by Max Maguire of North Brunswick Township High School.
“We are mindful of their bravery, their dedication, their sacrifices that were made to their community, and we remember the men and women who serve to protect America’s freedom today,” Benson said. “Take a story with you from this memorial site … and share that amongst our community.
“We are proud to be Americans.”
North Brunswick will continue to accept submissions for its Veterans Park Memorial Paver Donation Project.
Any resident who has a family member who served in the United States military during a wartime period can honor them at Veterans Park on Roosevelt Avenue with a 4-inch-by-8-inch brick. There is a maximum of three lines with 15 uppercase letters/spaces/punctuation marks per line.
Contact Jennifer Amato at firstname.lastname@example.org.