Camden County officials and residents came together Sunday, Nov. 10 at Veterans Island in Pennsauken to award 18 area veterans the Camden County Military Service Medal in recognition of their service. Some veterans were awarded medals posthumously.
The medal, created by the Freeholder Board, was made with the intention of honoring Camden County men and women that have served their country.
“From World War I to the global war on terror, Camden County Military Service Medal recipients have bravely defended our country out of duty and patriotism,” said Freeholder Melinda Kane, liaison to the Camden County Office of Veterans Affairs. “The freeholder board invites all county residents join us in celebrating these American heroes, and sends its deepest thanks to all who have served and sacrificed for the protection of our democracy.”
Veterans from Blackwood, Sicklerville, Voorhees, Haddon Heights, Pennsauken, Camden, Bellmawr, Barrington, Stratford, Lindenwold, Haddonfield and Clementon were honored in the annual ceremony.
Veterans Island, located along North Park Drive, contains six memorial plaques and areas honoring county residents killed in action during World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Desert Shield/Desert Storm battle, according to a release by Camden County. A sixth section of the island is dedicated to the Global War on Terror that began with the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Nilsa Cruz-Perez, State Senator with the Fifth Legislative District whom is also a veteran, spoke at the ceremony to welcome the community to the event and stress the importance that residents actively thank and assist veterans not only on specific days, but throughout the year as well.
“As we all know, freedom is not free,” Cruz-Perez said. “Our service members sacrifice time with their family, friends and community to provide a great service to our great country… and we are thankful to the lives of the men and women that are willing to pay that price.
“Always remember the sacrifices that our veterans make. Nothing that we have in this country is possible without our veterans; as a nation, we have a debt to every person that has dedicated themselves to the defense of freedom home and abroad,” Cruz-Perez added.
American flags flanked by service flags also fly on Veterans Island to honor veterans of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines. An architectural highlight is the American Flag Paved Plaza along the walkway around the perimeter.