Posted on December 19, 2018
What an amazing event and honor on 12-12-18 for Montgomery to host the “Wreaths Across America” Convoy this year on its way from Washington County, Maine to Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia on 12-15-18 to place wreaths upon the headstones of veterans. The photo captions in the above photo album (click on a photo to see) can tell you more of the story of their stop in Montgomery.
A warm welcome to the convoy was organized by the Montgomery High School Principal and Vice-Principals, as well as the Montgomery Veterans Memorial Committee. Those who came out to greet the convoy included Montgomery Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the Montgomery High School Marching band, cheerleaders, dance team, other high school teams and clubs, and many residents and students – too many to mention them all. Convoy escorts include American Gold Star Mothers, Blue Star Families, Gold Star Wives of America, veterans and Wreaths Across America volunteers. Patriot Guard Riders, Patriot Riders of America and Rolling Thunder flanked the escort along with Maine law enforcement officers.The high school ceremony included a color guard from the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, representatives from Somerset County Veterans Affairs, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Rolling Thunder, civil war reenactors, and many more supporters of our veterans. Mayor Christine Madrid, Superintendent Nancy Gartenberg, and Principal Paul Popadiuk made welcoming comments.
Among speakers was Brigadier Gen. Michael L. Cunniff, a longtime Montgomery resident, who is the former Adjutant Gen. for New Jersey, commanding more than 9,000 soldiers and airmen of the New Jersey National Guard.
Chris Jaeger, a township police officer and an active member of the National Guard, shared about his experiences as a sergeant first class in Baghdad during the fall of 2008 and the benefits of Serving.
Principal Cory Delgado introduced students from Montgomery Upper Middle School who presented the veterans with special, hand-made gift items.
Bob and Cindy Roberts, Gold Star parents of Sgt. Kristie A. Roberts, a New York Army National medic who died in 2012, sharing moving comments with the audience, whose front row was reserved for Gold Star parents and other heroes from the convoy.
Teacher Gene Porcelli, Marine Corps veteran, shared about the hero who saved his and his patrol’s lives, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Army Veteran, singer, songwriter and philanthropist Rockie Lynne, founder of the NPO, “Tribute to the Troops,” performed from his program “FOR THE LOVE OF COUNTRY: A SALUTE TO WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT.” A special song, “Thank You” especially honored Vietnam Vets, who were greeted at the stage with hugs from many members of the audience.
Principal Paul Popadiuk, Vice-Principal Naoma Green and Montgomery Veterans Memorial Committee member and Marine veteran Michael Maloney, presented wreaths honoring our namesake, General Richard Montgomery, and all eight Purple Heart Order soldiers from Montgomery who were killed in action since the Revolutionary War. A wreath was presented to the family of Navy Lt. Michael M. McGreevy, whose daughter Laura, a current student at MHS, was an infant when her father was killed in action during Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).
Artie Muller, one of the founders of Rolling Thunder, an organization that advocates for veterans and families of those imprisoned or missing in action (POW/MIA), made final comments before a rendition of Taps was played by trumpeter Mati Orlow-Ng and the Montgomery High School marching band, to close the ceremony and send the convoy, which originated in Maine, on to continue its journey to Virginia.
To learn more about Wreaths Across America, go to: https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/
RT. 206 Hillsborough - Enroute to MHS
Locally, following the event on December 12th - The Eight Awarded Wreaths for Montgomery's KIA - were placed at the respective pillar as named.
SOMERVILLE – Somerset County Freeholder Patricia L. Walsh and Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano were joined by local veterans in placing a wreath at Veterans Memorial Plaza on Grove Street on Dec. 13.
Members of Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 27, and representatives from the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office also attended, along with county Veterans Services Director Peter Niemiec and his staff.
The wreath had been presented to the county Office of Veterans Services as part of the Wreaths Across America ceremony held the previous day in Montgomery Township.
Additionally, a wreath was made and placed by Retired Port Authority Police Officer Eric Bulger at the nearby 9/11 Memorial.
The Convoy would continue on with stops in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and would arrive in Washington D.C. on Friday December 14th.
The convoy would arrive at Arlington National Cemetery in the early morning hours of Saturday December 15th.
Wreath Ceremonies were held at the Vietnam - Korea - WWII - National Memorials.
St. Paul's Chapel
In honor of General Montgomery's fateful journey into battle on December 30th, 1775 - His Wreath was dedicated and placed under His Monument - Our Country's First Memorial - on Sunday 12.30.18.
The Wreath was accepted for this purpose by Wreaths Across America's Executive Director - Karen Worcester and Chairman & Veteran - Wayne Hanson at the Convoy Stop at MHS on December 12th.
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