The 104 Lawrence Township veterans of World War I, as well as veterans of every conflict fought by the United States, will be honored at Lawrence Township’s annual Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11.
The ceremony, which will be held in front of the municipal building, Route 206, will begin at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour, which marked the end of hostilities in World War I exactly 100 years ago in 1918.
And while there are no surviving veterans of World War I, municipal officials would like veterans of World War II and subsequent wars and conflicts to attend the ceremony.
The ceremony is being moved from its traditional location at American Legion Post 414 to the municipal building because that is the site of the commemorative plaque that lists the name of every Mercer County resident who served in World War I.
The plaque was commissioned by the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders in the 1930s. It was initially placed on Route 1 near the intersection of Bakers Basin Road. The plaque was relocated after a car struck it, and then moved again to its current spot in front of the municipal building.
Included on the Mercer County memorial plaque are the names of three Lawrence Township residents who were killed in World War I – Jasper H. Allen, Austin P. Carter and Charles C. Conard.
Commander (U.S. Navy, Ret.) Andrew Tunnard will serve as the master of ceremonies. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and the winner of the essay contest will be announced.
Attendees may view a special display of World War I memorabilia in a display case in the north wing of the municipal building. The objects belong to collectors and to the New Jersey National Guard Militia Museum – Lawrenceville Annex.
Among the items on display are division patches for the U.S. Army’s 7th Field Artillery, 1st Division; a bayonet and a cavalry saber; steel helmets; a British artillery shell and a gas mask. Only 3 percent of combat deaths were the result of breathing in mustard gas or phosgene, but many more soldiers were injured.
Also, there is a musette bag. Lighter than a standard pack, soldiers used it to carry light equipment and personal items. There are two Camel cigarettes on display that were found at the bottom of the musette.
Visitors may see the display case at the Veterans Day ceremony and also during the week when the municipal building is open during normal business hours.