Honor a veteran during Military Appreciation Month

Tribute banners will fly in borough during November

Along with its Veterans Day program at Haddonfield Middle School, American Legion Post 38 will fly military tribute banners on Kings Highway during November for National Military Appreciation Month. Pictured are members of the post at 2014-2015 veterans event at the school. (Special to The Sun/The Sun)

For the first time, Haddonfield American Legion Post 38 will offer the community an opportunity to honor a hero by participating in the New Jersey Military Tribute Banner Program. 

Individuals can sponsor an 18-by-36-inch banner featuring the honoree’s photo, name and service details that will be hung on Kings Highway through November, for Military Appreciation Month. Banners will remain for two years before being returned to the sponsor. 

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Joe McElroy, finance officer for the post, said the hope is for the tradition to continue in  the future. The idea was brought to the post by Haddonfield Memorial High School senior Kelsie Meeker, who saw tribute banners in other towns and wanted to bring the tradition to Haddonfield. 

“My great-grandfather was in the Army, (and) we thought it was a good way to honor him and other veterans,” she said.

McElroy agreed.

“The goal is to honor our veterans,” he explained. “November is (Military Appreciation) Month, Veterans Day is in November, so again, like (Project Poppy), we’re trying to make our fellow citizens aware of the sacrifice that people make to make this country what it is and keep this country what it is.”

Throughout the year, Post 38 is involved in efforts to raise awareness for those who serve in the military. For Memorial Day, McElroy headed Project Poppy, independent of the American Legion, an art exhibition at the high school that featured more than 3,000 artificial poppies in memory of the 3,837 New Jersey service members who died in World War I.

For Veterans Day, Post 38 has typically celebrated with a special program in partnership with Haddonfield Middle School, where American Legion members speak to the students during an assembly.

“Oftentimes, (the speaker) is someone who’s more connected right now to the service telling the kids what they’re currently doing and how they’re serving, where they came from and how they made this decision,” explained Lisa Quanci, civilian administrative assistant for the post.

“It’s a great experience for the kids, for the teachers, everyone present.”

Quanci noted that following the assembly, the veterans are provided an eighth grade escort who brings them to a luncheon prepared and presented by the PTA (Parent Teacher Association), where they are joined by grandchildren, close friends and their spouses. 

“It’s really a special time,” she noted. 

Deadline for banner orders has been extended to Sept. 26. Banners are $150 and can be purchased at https://militarytributebanners.org/new-jersey/haddonfield-nj.html

For questions about the Tribute Banner program, email Kelsie Meeker at haddonfieldbanners@gmail.com.

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