PARSIPPANY — Rainbow Lakes held its Annual Memorial Service to Honor Fallen Heroes on Saturday, May 27, at Rainbow Park.
Charlie Engfer served in the United States Marine Corps in the late 60s and early 70s.
Charlie Engfer, serving as master of ceremonies, opened the ceremony with the following speech:
“It is my honor to be here today as we come together to remember and 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 just to utter words, but to live by them.”
“We find ourselves here on this day, gathered together to reflect on this sentiment, uttered many years ago by President John F. Kennedy: Words, he believed, were useless when unaccompanied by action. This is why we – the money – gather here to honor our veterans – the few who were so willing to give of themselves to defend their brother and their country. A small fraction of our population is charged with keeping us safe and our liberties intact. So today, we strive to properly thank this fragment of the population that has done so much to keep this country, our prosperity, and our 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 they had fulfilled their patriotic duty by fighting abroad. Korean and Vietnam War veterans, at times, overlooked, seem genuinely touched when welcomed home and remembered. Gratitude is accepted by our most recent generation of veterans, representing an even smaller percentage of the population than in previous wars. Still, many feel disconnected from their civilian peers,” said Engfer.
Parsippany-Troy Hills Mayor said, “I would like to welcome everyone on this solemn occasion as we pay tribute to the servicemen and women who selflessly sacrificed for their country. Each year we reaffirm our appreciation for those that were lost in service. We come together in this ceremony and speak about bravery and honor, but I am not sure that is enough to thank the servicemembers and their families for what they have lost. I think a better way to demonstrate our gratitude is by showing we are united as Americans. We do that as we unite today under one flag and pledge allegiance to this great nation. We must show we are united today and every day; otherwise, their sacrifice will have been in vain. We do not want to forget the powerful price of freedom. We need to ensure the legacy of these heroes by continuing to tell their stories to new generations and preserving their place in history. What makes our nation great are the ordinary people who stepped up when called into service or volunteered their service to protect and defend the United States. Their courage is an inspiration to all of us. Honor them, cherish their memories, and remember they may be lost but never forgotten and are always revered.”
Morris County Clerk Ann Grossi and a Parsippany resident addressed the audience.
During the Annual Memorial Service held at Rainbow Park, Morris County Clerk Ann Grossi, a dedicated public servant and a resident of Parsippany, delivered a poignant address to the audience. With her insightful words, she acknowledged the sacrifices made by our fallen heroes and expressed gratitude for their service. Her presence and heartfelt speech added depth and meaning to the memorial service, reminding everyone of the significance of honoring those who have served our country.
She said, “Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer season, begins today. As we enjoy the company of our friends and families at BBQs, picnics, or a trip to the Jersey shore, let us not forget the true reason for this holiday. Originally known as Decoration Day, soldiers honor their fallen comrades by laying flowers, wreaths, and flags at their gravesites. In the late 1800s, the name changed to Memorial Day, but it would not become an officially recognized holiday until 1967. This Monday, May 29, is Memorial Day. It’s a day dedicated to honoring those men and women in our armed forces who sacrificed for our country. True heroes who deserve recognition. Each of us can show our gratitude to these heroes in many ways. Here are just a few.”
RESPECT … Respect our country, our flag, and each other. Remember those who died so that we might enjoy our many freedoms.
TEACH … Teach your children the meaning of Memorial Day. Teach them that America is the greatest nation in the world. We’re not perfect, but we strive to be. Teach them to be proud to pledge allegiance to our flag and our country.
GIVE THANKS… If you should meet a military member, say “THANK YOU” … a small gesture, but oh so meaningful to them.
REMEMBER… Remember the words of Ronald Reagan: “WE ARE FOREVER INDEBTED TO THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES SO WE MAY BE FREE.”
So on Monday, please take a moment to reflect on the reasons that enable us to enjoy this time with family and friends. Please take a moment to thank our fallen heroes and our mighty military silently,” Grossi continued.
In closing, Engfer said, I would like to recognize those who have lost a loved one in the line of duty of this country. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed – no words of condolence can even begin to console a survivor’s grief adequately. And while grief from the loss may change throughout the years, it never leaves us.”