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Rainbow Lakes Memorial Day Ceremony

PARSIPPANY — On Saturday, May 26 members of the Rainbow Lakes Community held a Memorial Day ceremony. Sponsored by the Rainbow Lake veterans and Parsippany District 2 Fire Company, the event was part of a 68-year tradition and featured a parade of township fire trucks, emergency service units, Scout troops and pipers.

Local officials attended a commemorative service held at the Rainbow Lakes ballfield, including Morris County Clerk Ann Grossi, who spoke about the meaning of Memorial Day to a crowd of over 100 local residents and guests.

Charlie Engfer is a Vietnam Veteran who served with the United States Marine Corps in 1969 and 1970.

Charlie Engfer, serving as master of ceremonies, opened the ceremony with the following speech:

“It’s an honor to be here with you today as we come together to remember and to honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s finest and bravest. “As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” We find ourselves here on this day, gathered together to reflect on this one sentiment, uttered many years ago by President John F. Kennedy. Words, he believed, were useless unaccompanied by action.

This is why we – the many – gather here to honor our veterans – the few 1who were so willing to give of themselves to defend their brothers and their country. It is a small fraction of our population charged with keeping us safe, with keeping our liberties intact. So how do we properly thank this fragment of the population who has done so much to keep this country, our prosperity and freedoms in place. It’s interesting how different generations of veterans respond to being thanked for their service. Our World War II veterans generally seem to receive it politely – stoically – knowing that they had simply fulfilled their patriotic duty by fighting abroad. Korean and Vietnam War veterans) at times overlooked, seem genuinely touched when welcomed home and remembered.

For our most recent generation of veterans, who represent an even smaller percentage of the population than in previous wars, the gratitude is accepted but many feel a sense of disconnect from their civilian peers. What is common throughout all generations of veterans, however, is the absolute insistence that  the gratitude truly belongs – not to them – but to  their fallen brothers and sisters who paid the  ultimate sacrifice for this country. This leads us to overlook that the best way to thank them is to honor their fallen, to care for their  wounded brothers and sisters, and to safeguard  their families. Warriors are selfless creatures. They fight as a team and as a family, and they look out for one another to their last dying breaths. It is easy to surmise there is no better way to thank a veteran than to protect their brethren.

For those who never left the battlefields, we must hold them up in our hometowns and honor their memories. We should spend today reflecting on their service and sacrifice, and live in gratitude each and every day for the precious gift they have given to us. As a nation, we made a promise – a promise that must be kept. To honor our fallen, we must keep that promise.

We keep those promises by strengthening the programs and services that our injured and ill veterans rely on. We must ensure they and their caregivers are properly supported. We thank our veterans by fighting for them when they can’t. By ensuring they and their survivors get the care they earned when they wrote a blank check “up to, and including their very lives.”

In closing I would like to recognize those who have lost a loved one in the line of duty to this country. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed-no words of condolence can even begin to adequately console a survivor’s grief. And while grief from loss may change throughout the years it never leaves us.”

Engfer is a 39-year Rainbow Lakes resident and Vietnam Veteran who served with the United States Marine Corps in 1969 and 1970.

Councilman Michael dePierro, Vietnam Era Veteran and US Air Force, placed a flag on the monument representing the 116,700 dead soldiers from World War I.

Resident Phil Smith, US Navy World War II Veteran, placed a flag on the monument representing the 407,316 dead soldiers from World War II.

Rainbow Lakes resident Jerry Manning, US Army Veteran, Cold War Era, placed a flag on the monument representing 36,914 dead soldiers from Korea War.

Greg Smith, Viet Nam, Vet, US Air Force, placed a flag on the monument representing 58,220 dead soldiers from Viet Nam.

Bob Freeman, US Navy Corpsman, The Lifeline of the US Marine Corp, placed a flag on the monument representing dead soldiers from Lebanon, Grenada and Panama.

Jason Dieh, Six year Army Veteran, served three tours in Afghanistan, Recipient of the Bronze Star for Valor and will start his 4th Afghanistan tour in January 2019, placed a flag on the monument representing  dead soldiers from The Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rainbow Lakes Fire Chief Doug Reighard placed a flower bouquet to honor all of those who have fallen.

 

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Frank L. Cahill
Frank L. Cahill
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President of Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town and Chairman of Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board.
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