The Parade Grand Marshall was set to be Peter Gallo and due to some complications Pete couldn’t make the parade but his two sons Peter Jr. and Michael “sat’ in for him in the Parade Grand Marshall’s vehicle. The parade kicked off right on time at 0930 with 34 units in line. I thought that the audience was a bit small but it was a beautiful day and yard work and planting flowers might have kept some away. Nothing unusual happened during the parade. Karl and the boys, Gunny and Dom with the Jeep and the rest of us in cars really “wowed the crowd” for the two miles trek. Hell, we are Marines.
When the parade ended there was a couple of large jugs of ice water for the crowd who had gathered at the American Legion. The fire engines lined up and after about 20 minutes the various units also lined up. The Marine Corps League was placed in their usual place in the center of all the units. We had five in line with Tony in front handling the guide-on and Karl to his right. I would estimate that 400 to 450 people were at the ceremonies.
Then the celebration began with Ben Link kicking of the ceremonies. First was Jim Loizides acting as the Marine Corps league Chaplain and presenting the Invocation. Next, the Scout of Troop 155 raised the Flag and brought it back to half-staff.The National Anthem was lead by the “Sharpshooters Band” followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Then, Tom Miller lead off the welcoming remarks with a talk about Memorial Day as a time to pay tribute to those how are serving, remember those who have served and thank them and yo thank their families for their service. He went on to introduce “The newest member of the United States Marine Corps” to the audience, Karl Bischoff and then had Karl take a bow. Several young ladies were smiling.
After Tom was done, the other commanders welcomed the audience. When that finished, there was a Memorial Roll Call with the reading of the names of 21 veterans from Hanover Township who gave their lives from the Revolutionary War on to current day, ending with Slattery and Cosgrove. Each name that was read had a “ringing of the bell” with it. After that, there was a reading of names of the members of the various veteran groups that have passed away since Memorial Day 2018 and a bell ringing for each. There were 10 including our member, Al Bischoff.
We then had another Wreath Placing, a Firing Squad Salute and Taps. Mayor Ron Francioli came up and made a great talk followed by Ben Link introducing Peter and Michael Gallo as the sons of the Parade Grand Marshall, Peter Gallo. He then gave them a plaque for Pete. When that was finished, Ben introduced Michael Dougherty as the guest speaker, but first he read his bio.
Mike presented a highly researched study of the reason we have a Memorial Day - those who gave their lives. It involved the amount in numbers of those who made the ultimate sacrifice from the Revolutionary War to this day. Yes, it was long but very well spoken. Good job Mike. Then the Benediction and at the end the Whippany Park High School band played “God Bless America.”
After that the ceremonies were finished, everyone retired to the rear of the building for hot dogs, birch beer, beer and ice-cream. Wegmans made a generous donation of 2000 hot dogs and condiments, while Bimbo Bakery donated 2000 hot dog rolls. If you get a chance, say “Thank you” to Wegmans and if you can, Bimbo Bakeries also.
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