HomeVoorhees NewsMayor's message: The right reason to celebrate Memorial Day

Mayor’s message: The right reason to celebrate Memorial Day

Our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that
stands for liberty and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it.” John Thune

On Memorial Day, we honor those brave heroes who stood on the “Wall of Freedom” and paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

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The first Memorial Day dates to the Civil War era when a group of Southern women decorated graves of soldiers from both the Confederate and Union Armies who died in battle. The first national memorial observance was in May 1868. In 1873, New York was the first state to legalize the holiday and by 1890, all the Northern states celebrated Memorial Day on May 30. In 1971, the observance date was changed to the last Monday in May.
In World War I, 116,516 troops died for our country and 405,399 gave their lives in World War II. The Korean War took 33,686 heroes and in Vietnam, 50,209 paid the ultimate price. The number of American troops who have died fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan totals over 7,000.

One of the more compelling tributes to our fallen troops is the National Vietnam Veterans
Memorial in Washington, DC. In 1988, I made my first visit to “The Wall” and it was quite an emotional experience. Some visitors knelt in prayer, some left tokens of remembrance while others sketched the names of their loved ones onto a piece of paper.

The names on “The Wall” are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date, and within each date the names are alphabetized. There are three sets of fathers and sons honored and 31 sets of brothers. Almost 4,000 on the Memorial were just 22 or younger and 8,283 were only 19 years old. The largest age group taken was 18 years old and numbered 33,103. Twelve troops were only 17, 5 were only 16 and one soldier was only 15.

On their first day in Vietnam, 997 troops lost their lives while 1,448 were killed on their last day of service there. For many, Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer. For others, it is a day for barbecues, picnics and parades. For all of us, it should be a day to honor those Americans who gave their lives for our country.

Please join us for the Annual Kirkwood Memorial Day Parade and Service. The parade will start at 11:00am at the old Carriage House Restaurant at 1219 Kirkwood-Gibbsboro Road, proceed down Gibbsboro Road, turn right onto Walnut Avenue, left on Second Avenue, right on Chestnut Avenue and right on Burnt Mill Road, ending at the Veterans Memorial adjacent to the Kirkwood Fire Station. Following the parade at 11:30am, there will be a wreath ceremony and memorial service. Light refreshments and hot dogs will be available for everyone at the conclusion of the event. Special thanks to Terri and Vaughn Vandegrift for organizing this community tradition!

Honor our fallen heroes by enjoying barbecues, parades and picnics. Honor them by embracing your family. Honor them by cherishing your freedom. They would have wanted it that way.

** The Camden County Board of Elections needs poll workers for the upcoming elections. This year the Board of Elections is hiring employees 16 and over.
$300 for the day from 5am – 9pm
Tuesday, June 4 (Primary Election)
Tuesday, Nov. 5 (General Election)
For more information, call (856) 401-8683
** The Voorhees Township 2024 Summer Concert Series is back! Come out with your
chairs and blankets and enjoy these great free shows. The first show is on Thursday, June
20, and will feature The Pour Boys 80’s Cover Band. The second show is on Thursday, July
18, featuring Parrot Beach – Jimmy Buffet Tribute. On Thursday, Aug. 15, The Beat Tells
will greet the audience with their traditional Tribute to the Beatles. All shows start at
7:30pm. The shows will be even more enjoyable with Dooney’s Pub’s Beer Garden and a
variety of food trucks that will open at 6:30pm. For more information, visit voorheesnj.com, the Voorhees Township Facebook page or call the Show Hot Line 856-882-SHOW.
** Staying the Course, Inc. with the support of Voorhees Township, is hosting a Small Business Showcase and Expo Festival on Saturday, July 13 from 10am-5pm at the Town Center. For more information, contact Lashaun Drew at 856-924-8490 or visit
** Voorhees Township is once again partnering with Morey’s Piers to offer discounted tickets for their amusement piers located on the Boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ. Tickets may be obtained in person from the office of the Voorhees Township Clerk (856) 429-7757 and are payable by cash only. Tickets are available to residents and non-residents.


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