By Amy Filippone, Dept. of Parks & Recreation
Moorestown’s Memorial Day ceremony will take place on Monday, May 31 at 10 a.m. at Memorial Field with in-person attendance. Social distancing and mask-wearing is required. Paper programs will not be distributed this year.
Rain or shine, the ceremony offers the community a way to honor the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Moorestown Mayor Nicole Gillespie, a veteran and graduate of the Naval Academy, will welcome all.
This year’s speaker will be Lt. Col. Alan Van Saun, who will speak about the global war on terrorism. Van Saun was an active duty United States Army officer for 15 years where he served in both the Infantry and Special Forces. He was deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and West Africa multiple times. Van Saun is a United States Military Academy graduate and received a bachelor of science in civil engineering. He also received a master of arts in national security and strategic studies from the United States Naval War College. He continues to serve in the Army Reserves, where he trains and coaches military staffs on the operations process, as they prepare for deployment.
Judith Young, has been the driving force in planning and executing the Memorial Day ceremony for 35 years. Young and Jean Gash took over the planning in 1986, and from the beginning, they wanted the focus to be on the service men and women who sacrificed their lives, rather than the fanfare of parades and barbecues. They also wanted to involve local youth by having the boy scouts and girl scouts participate.
This year, Jack Hall and John Call, both Vietnam Veterans will raise the flag. During the recitation of the names of the 41 soldiers from Moorestown, a girl scout will lay a flower on a wreath. The benediction will be given by Reverend George Bowen of the Converge Church, and vocalist Donna Banes will perform.
Taps will be played by a member of the Moorestown High School band, and Post 42 of the American Legion, led by William H. Synder, will fire the gun salute to honor those lost.