Hamilton Township Welcomes Home Veterans [AUDIO]
The event that has come together in the last 90 days or so, will be the 8th of its kind and 1st in New Jersey and the tri-state area.
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As a way to thank and honor service members returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Hamilton Township VFW Post 3525 has organized "Hamilton's Welcome Home Veterans Parade" that will kick off on July 4th.
"So we would just like for the community to get their patriotism together and come support the troops, who provide safety and security," says Jeffrey Bock, Junior Vice Commander of the VFW Post.
While the event falls on July 4th, it is not a "Fourth of July Parade." The sole intent is honor these heroic men and women, who part their lives on the line.
Bock, who also served in the war, says it's important to not forget the sacrifice that all veterans have made.
"The greater community has done a lot between care packages and letters and cards," he explains, "But now it just seems, overall, community involvement has dipped off a bit."
As of now, the plan and hope is to honor between one and two thousand veterans, but organizers have taken on the mantra of the "more the merrier," especially since it is the first local parade of its kind.
"We have no state lines," he says, "We are looking for veterans from anywhere to come and take part in this event."
The parade begins at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, July 4th at Grice Middle School, which is located at 901 White Horse-Hamilton Road, Hamilton, NJ. It will feature about a 1.2 mile parade route, before entering Veteran's Park, where a band, support organization stations, food, beverages, and other festivities will be set up.
Veterans will receive gifts provided by Operation Gratitude, which is an organization that annually sends care packages to service members deployed to these hostile regions and their families, as well as wounded warriors.
Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) has touted the parade as a tremendous way for the community to thank armed forces members for their service and dedication to protecting our nation's security in dangerous areas of conflict.
Organizers say the planning of the parade is all set. However, they are still searching for more marching and music bands. Bock also reiterates that they want as many veterans as possible, from all over to participate. Those wishing to be a part of it can contact Jeffrey Bock at the VFW Post 3525 (609) 890-9809.
Bands and musical groups that would like to participate can contact Assemblyman DeAngelo's office at (609) 631-7501 or AsmDeAngelo@njleg.org.
The event also has a Facebook page set up for it.
"We are really glad to take any veterans from anywhere that would like to take a part in this event," he said, "And for us to say, 'Thank you for your service.'"
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