2017-05-24 / Columns

Paying tribute to the veterans who have done so much for us all

Executive Director, Jewish Family & Children’s Service

“Spending the day with my sons, as we helped to honor our fallen veterans was worth more to us than words could ever say. I think that we have started a new family tradition of honoring vets in this very special way, something my boys will pass down to their sons and daughters.”

Tom S., flagging volunteer

There are very few things that make us feel more fulfilled and well rounded than to give back to those who have gone above and beyond in sacrifice for others. The impact that veterans have had within our lives and the world we live in seems so great that sometimes one feels unable to fully repay them. When it concerns veterans of our country, there is a common feeling that no gesture can measure up to what they have put on the line; everything they have risked; all that they endured for the sake of our security and wellbeing. It makes it even harder should they have already passed on, because we are unable to tell them how much their service has meant. But acts of kindness and respect such as flagging the graves of all veterans in time for Memorial Day are a way of showing our appreciation.

That is why so many find it comforting to know that opportunities exist to show respect to veterans when holidays dedicated to them arise, as our community did on May 21, at the Annual Flagging of the Veterans Graves. We were filled with pride that our agency, along with American Legion Post 372, Camden County Board of Freeholders, Veterans Affairs of Camden County, and the Jewish War Veterans Post 126 shared the honor and responsibility of facilitating the flagging of the graves of our veterans who are buried at Locustwood Cemetery in Cherry Hill. In solidarity, we worked together to show our commitment to the memory of our veterans and to their service on behalf of the people of the United States.

Each and every year, placing the flags on the graves before Memorial Day welcomes and encourages all types of volunteers to get involved. Volunteers include veterans from each branch of the military as well as elementary, middle school, and high school students, Boy Scout troops and teen community organizations, family members, spouses, friends of veterans, as well as elected officials.

Over 125 volunteers at the May 21 flagging ceremony heard from Tim Kraft of American Legion Post 372; Gordon Bocher of Jewish War Veterans Post 126; Cherry Hill Councilwoman Melinda Kane, who tragically lost her son Marine Lance Corporal Jeremy Kane in Afghanistan; Greg Murphy from Buglers Across America; and Colonel Ted Gallagher, who helped to guide all the many volunteers on the instructions of where, when and how to place flags on the graves. It is a moving tribute that so many from our region banded together for such a significant purpose.

It is no surprise that such a universal show of support and care is evident by the residents of our towns and the organizations that are centerpieces within them. As our veterans unselfishly gave of themselves, our call to action on holidays and every day is to make sure we show our gratitude and respect so that their sacrifices and the burdens they carried can be memorialized.

On behalf of all who have served our country and all the organizations that helped to plan this special ceremony, we thank you for taking the time to show how much you care. And, G-d Bless America!


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