Lawrence Township to hold Veterans Day event on Nov. 11

Soldiers make their way down the route during the Lawrence Township Memorial Day Parade on May 25.

Lawrence Township will honor its military veterans at the annual Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. in front of the Lawrence Township Municipal Building.

This is the second year that the Veterans Day ceremony will be held at the municipal building. It was moved from its traditional location at American Legion Post 414 in 2018 (where the centennial of the end of World War I was celebrated), to the municipal complex because it is the site of the commemorative plaque that lists the name of every Mercer County resident who served in World War I.

“We want to try and thank the veterans and show our appreciation for them,” said Nancy Bergen, the township’s superintendent of recreation.

Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day. It was held on Nov. 11, 1919, which was the first anniversary of the end of World War I. It became annual observance in 1926, and was made a national holiday in 1938.

The name of Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all of those who served in the military in all American wars.

Commander Andrew Tunnard (U.S. Navy, Retired), will serve as the master of ceremonies. He will introduce the guest speaker, Lieutenant Colonel Yvonne D. Harris-Johnson (U.S. Air Force Reserves, Retired). She served in both the U.S. Air Force Reserves and the New Jersey Air National Guard.

Lt. Col. Harris-Johnson was born in Princeton and moved to Trenton with her family. She graduated from Trenton Central High School and Trenton State College, now known as The College of New Jersey.

She was commissioned a second lieutenant as a hospital administrator in 1987. She was called up several times and served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Operation Kocsava.

In civilian life, Lt. Col. Harris-Johnson retired from a 37-year career in education in the Trenton Public Schools. She has held the position of elementary and alternative high school principal.

The ceremony will include a wreath-laying at the World War I memorial. It will also include a cannon salute by the 112th Field Artillery Association cannon crew, which is based at the New Jersey Army National Guard Armory on Eggerts Crossing Road.

The ceremony will be moved indoors in case of rain.

A light lunch will follow in the lower level conference room at the municipal building.