JERSEY CITY – Mayor Steven M. Fulop and the Jersey City Office of Veteran Affairs will proudly honor and recognize the civic contributions of our military veterans and their families during the Second Annual Parade of Veterans and Heroes on Saturday, November 12th, 2016.
The parade begins at 12 p.m. at Dickinson High School with a remembrance ceremony at the school’s Vietnam Memorial and a special dedication to one of our fallen soldiers, U.S. Army Pvt. 2, Tysheena James. James, 21, was one of nine Army soldiers who died during a training accident in June at Owl Creek near Fort Hood, Texas. The parade will then proceed down Newark Avenue to City Hall.
The Grand Marshal of the parade will be Tony Goodson, Vietnam Veteran and Commander of the Samuel R. Shelton Post VFW #2294. Other designated honorees include Yolanda Amiker, Glen Flora, Phil Lore, John Scafidi, and John Trambley, as well as distinguished guests former U.S. Marine Chuck Wepner aka “The Real Rocky” and U.S. Army Medical Corps. Dr. Jack Smith.
“Veterans Day is especially important to me because as a veteran myself I appreciate the challenges our veterans face both during service and after,” said Mayor Fulop. “That’s why we have made a pledge to provide more services and resources for our veterans, including access to jobs, healthcare, social services and affordable housing. We will salute our veterans during the parade, but we will also make policy and programs that will make a real difference in their lives when they return from service.”
A 21-gun salute by a collective group of veterans will be a parade highlight, as well as the contingent of South Vietnamese soldiers who fought alongside the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War who will march in the parade.
Also participating in the event this year are Welcome Home Vets of NJ and Eight Flames of Hope in addition to the Snyder High School marching band, the Dickinson High School and McNair High School JROTCs, there will be a motorcycle show by the Nam Knights Motorcycle Club and a car show by the Latino Automotive Services at City Hall. Live entertainment will be performed by local favorites – Cabaret Sauvignon and the Gully Hubbards.
Spectator stations will be located along the parade route at the following locations:
· Christopher Columbus Drive between Grove and Barrow (behind Porta Restaurant)
· Newark Avenue at Monmouth Street (near Gia’s Gelato & Café)
· Newark Avenue at Division Street (near Healy’s Tavern)
· Historic Jersey City & Harsimus Cemetery, 435 Newark Avenue
· City Hall Reviewing Stand, 280 Grove Street
At the conclusion of the parade, Mayor Fulop will dedicate a new veterans housing development located at 665 Ocean Avenue to former Councilman Jaime Vazquez who passed away in October. Vazquez served as Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps between 1965 and 1969, and was awarded a Purple Heart, a Vietnam Service Medal with three stars, a Good Conduct Medal, a National Defense Medal, an Expeditionary Forces Medal, a New Jersey State Veterans Service Medal, a Hudson County Veterans Service Medal, and a Presidential Unit Citation. The dedication will also recognize Vazquez’s service as Jersey City Councilman from 1985 to 1996.
The development at 665 Ocean Avenue will be known as The Honorable Jaime Vazquez Memorial Home for Veterans. Offering eight new units of housing to homeless and disabled veterans, the building also provides office space for the United Way of Hudson County, which will provide social services for the building’s residents, as well as the Hudson County Building Trades, which will help foster gainful employment for veterans and local residents.
The Fulop administration has made assisting veterans a focal point, first expanding services within the Resident Response Center and the Office of Veterans Affairs. The Mayor has also worked with the organization Helmets to Hardhats to expand veteran hiring on construction sites. In 2014, Mayor Fulop, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who was deployed to Iraq in 2003, signed on to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. A 2015 “Point-in-Time Count” of Hudson County’s homeless veteran population found that there were still 45 homeless veterans on the street or in shelters in Hudson County. Since then, the Fulop administration has made significant progress, with 34 units of veteran- or veteran-priority housing so far built or planned under the Fulop administration.
Following the parade, the city is also assembling several providers to share informational briefings such as Vets Chat/Chew, Npower Technology Services Corps, 1800Gambler, Red Cross, Vet Center, Catholic Charities, Hudson Rehab Spa and other state and non-profit entities who facilitate follow along services for veterans requiring housing, employment or wellness referrals.
An Art Exhibit by Veterans and Heroes will begin their reception on the 3rd floor of City Hall’s Rotunda at 2:30 p.m. All artwork has been created by veterans, Combat Paper, members from Police and Fire, and active military personnel. There will be light refreshments and a cake donated by Cake Boss Buddy Valastro as well as entertainment by the students from the Learning Community Charter School Choral Group.
At 3 p.m., Frank Golon, Sr., a WWII veteran and former New Jersey resident who served with General Patton, will host a book signing for his book, Johnny Romanek: The Start of an Era. Golon, Sr. was born in 1918 in Mountainview, and spent several years in Union City and Hudson County with his family. In addition to serving in World War II under General George S. Patton’s Army, he was instrumental in bringing unions to Ford Motor Company in N.J. where he worked for several decades.
While in the first half of the 1900s there were events that honored veterans around Memorial Day, research with the Jersey City Public Library and local historians found that before last year, never in Jersey City’s history was there a parade commemorating Veterans Day and that instead residents and veterans would attend parades in New York City, Newark and Hoboken. Rather than compete with other parades scheduled on Friday, Nov 11th, Jersey City scheduled its event on Saturday to ensure anyone who wanted to, could attend.
ABOUT VETERANS DAY
Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11th became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Veterans Day is often confused with Memorial Day which honors American service members who died in service to their country, while Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans – living or dead – with special thanks to those living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.
ABOUT OUR ARMED FORCES
The United States Armed Forces consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, and serve through the Federal Department of Defense. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2014, there are 21.8 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces, approximately 10 percent of whom are women. In all the American wars there have been 651,008 battle deaths and about 1.2 million deaths during service in wartime, with approximately 42 million people having served in the military during wartime. As of Dec. 31, 2013, there were 1,369,532 members of the armed forces on active duty, with an additional 850,880 people in the seven reserve components.