He was a true hero, a man who fought and sacrificed his life in the true cause of freedom in World War II.

He served twice in the Army and then enlisted in the Marines. He was from Raritan Borough, New Jersey, and attended St. Bernard Parochial School, he was a quiet man that just did what he had to do.

He was John Basilone.

So many of our soldiers were killed in World War II, so many sacrificed their lives for the protection of our country. They are all heroes. There are stories about other soldiers that have performed acts of heroism because that was the fabric of who they were.

Photo by Cristina Glebova on Unsplash
Photo by Cristina Glebova on Unsplash

We remember them all this long holiday weekend and remain grateful and humbled by their service for this great country.

John Basilone’s story is amazing. After serving three years in the United States Army, John enlisted in the United States Marines, raised quickly to the rank of gunnery sergeant, and deployed to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

From there he was deployed to the battle of the Guadalcanal and was engaged in a fight with a Japanese unit that had more firepower and men. He defeated that group of Japanese and was one of only three U.S. Marines to survive the battle. He received the Medal of Honor for his bravery and success against the Japanese.

In February of 1945 after deployed to Iwo Jima, John Basilone was killed in action on the first day of the engagement. He was killed when he single-handedly fought off an enemy blockhouse and led a Marine tank through an open minefield.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

John Basilone was honored with the Navy Cross and received another Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart.

I read his story and think what kind of man has such courage, such drive to go through the actions that he did? I remind myself that this is what a hero is all about.

My brief description of his heroism does not do it justice but if it reminds you to thank our men and women who have lost their lives in fighting for this country then I am satisfied.

UPDATED: Memorial Day Parades in New Jersey 2024 (alphabetical)

New Jersey remembers those who made the ultimate sacrifice on Memorial Day with parades, solemn services, reenactments and fairs. Most events take place Monday, May 27 unless otherwise noted and are subject to change without notice here.

Add your community's parade to our list with an email to dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

Gallery Credit: Dan Alexander

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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