Princeton to honor veterans and active military at ceremony on Nov. 11

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Princeton's All Wars Memorial. Photo: https://www.facebook.com/PrincetonNJGovernment

Princeton’s annual Veterans Day ceremony has been set for Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. at the recently restored All Wars Memorial, at the intersection of Nassau and Mercer streets.

The ceremony, sponsored by the Spirit of Princeton civic group, honors military veterans as well as the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are currently serving in the United States military.

A highlight of the ceremony is the rededication of the All Wars Memorial, which was recently restored. Its curved Indiana limestone bench was discolored from nearly 100 years of sun, rain and snow, and its circular bronze medallion was tarnished and pitted.

The All Wars Memorial was proposed in 1918 by a committee of prominent Princeton residents, and was intended to honor the men and women who served in World War I. It was completed and dedicated in 1925.

The memorial has since been expanded to include the names of additional military conflicts carved on the back of the limestone bench – from World War II to the Korean and Vietnam wars, and Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

The Princeton chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the Garden Club of Princeton teamed together to restore the memorial earlier this year. The Garden Club of Princeton has been involved with the monument since its inception and helped to raise money to build it.

The Princeton Council awarded a $36,200 contract to Masonry Preservation Group to clean up and restore the memorial. Princeton University, the Garden Club of Princeton and the Princeton DAR contributed nearly $30,000 toward the project.

Meanwhile, Brigadier General Patrick M. Kennedy of the New Jersey Air National Guard will be the keynote speaker. He is the assistant adjutant general of the New Jersey Air National Guard and has oversight of the 2,300 airmen in the National Guard units.

Brig. Gen. Kennedy began his military career when he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the New Jersey Air National Guard in 1991. He was initially assigned to the 150th Air Refueling Squadron after completing flight training. He has held many positions in the New Jersey Air National Guard.

Brig. Gen. Kennedy also flew combat support sorties in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has logged more than 2,200 hours of flight time, including the combat support sorties.

Monsignor Joseph Rosie of St. Paul’s Catholic Church will offer the invocation,and bagpiper Chris King will present a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” King is a police officer with the Princeton Police Department, whose color guard also will participate in the Veterans Day ceremony.

Spirit of Princeton co-chairs Mark Freda and Kam Amirzafari will take part in the program, as well as Mayor Liz Lempert, military veterans and active duty military personnel.

A wreath will be laid at the memorial by Brig. Gen. Kennedy and a military veteran. Tom Spain will play “Taps,” and Trenton Marine Corps League Detachment 207, whose members are current and former Marines, is sending a firing detail for the rifle volley.