Hundreds of residents participated in, and lined the streets to watch, the annual Guttenberg Memorial Day Parade on Thursday, May 30, and honor town residents who made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation.
The parade began at 68th and Madison streets and ended at Boulevard East and 71st Street.
Anna Ruano of 68th Street was there. Her younger brother Juan is active in the U.S. Navy and stationed in Norfork, Va.
“I think it’s very important because it’s very symbolic for them, and for them to know how much we appreciate all the hard work they do for us,” Ruano said. “And we feel safety, because I see how hard they work for us, for the country, for everybody.”
“I’m here because my family members, people I know, and friends have lived through all the wars.” – Vivian Phillips
“Dave invited us; he wanted to have a nice show of support for those who died for us,” said Cohen, whose father served in the Army Medical Corps in World War II.
Gathered together at the parade’s start to show their respect were Guttenberg residents Marisol Acosta, assistant town administrator; Jeanne Sorensen, Board of Education trustee; and Vivian Phillips, Guttenberg Memorial Day Committee member.
“I’m here because my family members, people I know, and friends have lived through all the wars,” said Phillips, whose father served in the Air Force. “My family tells me stories about World War I and II.”
Guttenberg’s 41 fallen
Mayor Gerald Drasheff, Councilmen Efrain Velez and John Habermann, and Councilwoman Donna Florio were among the officials attending the observance.
More than a dozen local groups were a part of the commemoration. These included the Weehawken Volunteer First Aid Squad, Hudson County Corrections Honor Guard, the Hudson County Sheriff’s SWAT unit, the Guttenberg and North Bergen police departments, North Bergen Ambulance, the Hudson County Motorcycle Unit, the Junior ROTC, the North Hudson Community Action Corp., the Oneida Dance School, the J&L Dance Studio, Center of Education and Business Institute, and the choir from Anna Klein Grammar School.
The parade concluded at the Guttenberg Veterans Memorial with speeches and renditions of Abide with Me, the “Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful,” and invocations by clergy.
An Anna L. Klein Gold Star Mother Award was presented to Ms. Tina Roman of Bayonne in honor of Spc. Rafael Nieves Jr., who was killed in Afghanistan on July 10, 2011.
A bell was rung once for each town resident who gave their life in duty. Guttenberg has lost 41 servicemen over the years, including 32 in World War II alone, according to Larry Giancola of the Memorial Day Committee.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.