The Weehawken Memorial Day parade and ceremony was held by the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on the Palisades overlooking the Hudson River.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
VFW Oulton Kraft Post 1923 Commander Paul Pizzuta announced the procession of local officials and public safety officials who marched in the parade as they were led by U.S. Marine Corps veterans.
“We are reminded of the consequences of war and the evil that produces it. We see in glaring detail the tragedy forced upon the people of Ukraine as their nation’s brave fight for their fundamental rights and freedoms,” Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner said.
“Let us celebrate the blessings of our hard-won freedom and remember those who made it possible.”
He also called for a moment of silence for the victims of the recent Uvalde school shooting in Texas.
Turner noted the presence of Weehawken officials including 3rd Ward Councilman Robert Sosa, Councilman-at-Large David Curtis, 1st Ward Councilwoman Carmela Silvestri-Ehret, 2nd Ward Councilwoman Rosemary J. Lavagnino, County Commissioner Caridad Rodriguez (D-7), and Business Administrator Giovanni Ahmad.
Parade Grand Marshall Erik O. Valentin, a U.S. Marine Corps vet who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, was honored by Turner – who read the list of his many accomodations.
From there, Silvestri-Ehret laid a wreath on the memorial saying it is to “commemorate all those who gave their lives so that other lives could be free.”
Additionally, Joe Fredericks announced he is establishing a scholarship for his father who was a Memorial Day parade leader for 70 years.
He explained that the VFW his father was a member of will be giving a Weehawken student a $2,500 a year college scholarship. Fredericks announced he would match it.
“At one time those names weren’t on those monuments. They were young men walking through the streets you are standing on now, playing in neighborhoods your children play,” Joseph J. Rovito, an aide to the grand marshall, said.
“They went to war accepting the fact that they may never return. They all gave their lives so we may enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today.”
Furthermore, in the middle of the ceremony, military jets flew over the Hudson River.
“We’re assembled here to pay tribute and honor to the brave men and women who lost their lives in defense of our great nation,” Rovito added.
The list of names of the veterans on the monument was read to the crowd.
“May we never forget the sacrifices made by our nation’s POWs and MIAs and the suffering they have endured for us. May they never be forgotten,” American Legion Post 18 Commander and Parade Vice-Chair Gabriela Reynosa added.