IRVINGTON, NJ — On Nov. 11, Irvington celebrated Veterans Day in a ceremony honoring all who have served in the U.S. military. Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss, who is the keynote speaker for the ceremony every year, expressed his gratitude to those who serve in the United States’ armed forces.
“I wanted to pay tribute to our veterans, those who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice for our country so that people like me can be free here at home,” Vauss said Nov. 15. “Not only that, to every one of the men and women in uniform — from the police, fire, soldiers that have served and also our young people in JROTC who are future soldiers — for committing to that profession and keeping this country safe.”
This year’s ceremony saw a large turnout from the Irvington community and officials, including Public Safety Director Tracy Bowers, Deputy Public Safety Director John Brown, Chris Gatling Recreation Center Director and host Donald Malloy, and Irvington Council members.
“We had all of our students there from the high school band and all of the JROTC, so there was a large amount of people out there,” Vauss said. “Veterans Day is important because we need to always remember. Remember the people that gave their lives to this country, their sacrifices and the many wars we’ve had throughout the existence of this country.
“This year’s ceremony was tremendous,” he continued. “It’s always an emotional feeling when we honor the men and women in uniform. We all appreciate the sacrifice that a lot of them who made it home and those who did not make it home have endured.”
According to Brown, this year’s event was well attended, with approximately 150 people participating.
“As the deputy public safety director, my role was mainly to organize and facilitate the Veterans Day ceremony on behalf of township Mayor Tony Vauss, the members of the Township Council and Public Safety Director Tracy Bowers,” Brown said Nov. 12. “This is a very fulfilling part of my job as I recognize and honor the service of our veterans who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms and preserve our way of life. Recreation Director Donald Malloy was instrumental in the success of this year’s ceremony, along with members of the Irvington Fire Department, Irvington Police Department, Irvington Department of Public Works, the VFW Camptown Post 1941, the Irvington High School ROTC Corps and the Irvington High School marching band.”
To Brown, Veterans Day is important because it gives the community the opportunity to come together to express gratitude to veterans and to those who continue to serve in the armed forces.
“These soldiers serve in times of peace and war, protecting the safety and security of the citizens of our country, and around the world,” Brown said. “We recognize that our freedom isn’t free, and the Veterans Day ceremony is just one small way that we can begin to express our gratitude to them. Our annual Veterans Day ceremony is important in terms of reminding our veterans just how important they are to us and that their well-being matters.”
Comparing this year’s turnout to last year’s, this year’s event was a huge success.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our 2020 Veterans Day celebration was extremely limited in size,” Brown said. “I was proud to see that this year’s event was well attended, and I attribute that to the resiliency of the Irvington residents and their commitment not only to our brave veterans, but to the community as well.”
Photos Courtesy of Tony Vauss