View Full Version : Salutes to those who lost lives in battle

05-29-07, 06:15 AM
Salutes to those who lost lives in battle
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 05/29/07


Harold Peace smiled when he was reminded of the irony of a man with his last name having served with the Marines.

"Yeah, yeah, I know," he said, nodding his head.

Peace, 66, of Freehold, was one of hundreds of veterans and active-duty personnel who were honored Monday during Freehold's annual Memorial Day parade down West Main Street.

Celebrations such as the borough's were held throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties as thousands of Jersey Shore residents came out to honor those who gave their lives in service and to thank those who were willing to make that sacrifice.

A Vietnam-era veteran, Peace marched in the color guard for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4374.

"I think it's beautiful," Peace said of the crowd's reaction as he and his comrades marched toward the Monmouth County Courthouse. "It shows we have support for veterans."

Daniel Zamorski, 81, of Colts Neck also was a member of the post's color guard. A World War II Navy veteran, Zamorski said he was "very excited" by the cheers and applause he heard along the parade route.

"I thought the patriotism displayed by the people was very encouraging," he said. "That shows a real love of country when you see a turnout like today."

Steve Powers of Hazlet stood on Monument Street waiting for his son's group from the Marine Academy of Science and Technology, a high school, to walk by.

Powers said his son, Steve, wants to attend the Naval Academy at Annapolis when he graduates.

"He's wanted to be in the military since he was 5," Powers said. "It's a little nerve-racking to think your son wants to go into the armed forces, but I'm wholeheartedly behind him."

String band humor

While Memorial Day — or Decoration Day, as it was originally known after the Civil War — carries with it a somber undertone, that doesn't mean that the celebrants cannot show some lightheartedness.

In Ocean Township, Pete Broomall stood on Sheridan Avenue before the start of the parade listening to colleagues in the string band he leads as they warmed up. All were dressed in colorful costumes adorned with peace signs and flowers.

"We're hippies this year," he said.

Broomall said his band has appeared in the parade for at least 15 years.

"It's a nice way to kick off the summer," he said.

Ocean residents Gregory and Francisca Smith were among those lining the parade route, wearing matching T-shirts with patriotic slogans.

"I do it to honor the soldiers," Gregory Smith, 51, said.

Francisca, 50, said she attends the parades to honor her relatives who were killed in action and relatives now serving.

"I have to give all honor and respect to the young people and the older people" who serve in the armed services, she said.

Gov. Corzine made his second public appearence since his near-fatal car crash in April at a Memorial Day ceremony at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Holmdel.

Corzine, who was walking with crutches and looked thin, stayed for the entire hourlong ceremony and spent almost as much time talking with veterans and posing for photos with them as he did making his speech.

"We can have political debates, but the fact is, those men and women who put on the uniform and go into battle deserve our support," said Corzine, a Marine Reserves veteran of the Vietnam era.

Corzine called the ceremony a way to help Americans honor the past and think about the future. That echoed the theme of other speakers, who cited the lessons learned from the Vietnam era, when returning soldiers received no welcome home, and applied them to troops returning today.

"Let us never forget"

In Toms River, the mother of a Marine, 21-year-old Pfc. Vincent Frassetto, who died in al-Anbar Province, Iraq, on Sept. 7, said it best.

"My son didn't ask to be a hero, and if given a choice, I'm sure he would have declined dying that day. But he didn't have a choice," Teri Frassetto said during a town hall ceremony following the parade. "He did what he had to do, and he did it well.

"I'm glad there are so many of you here," Frassetto said. "You, who took time out of your busy weekend to come and be here with us. Next year, come and bring a friend. Let us never forget those who died for us."

Frassetto rode on the rear of a motorcycle driven by her brother-in-law, Jerry DiGiorgio of Toms River, which followed a float dedicated to her son.

Marine Sgt. John P. Frassetto also was serving in Iraq when his brother was killed, and he was with his father, John, and sister, Alyssa, in the parade.

In Barnegat, dozens lined Main Street to watch sports cars, a military truck, speedboats and flag-carrying veterans pass during the township's 21st annual parade.

Marchers who ranged from American Legion old-timers to Little League ballplayers were led by a cavalcade of 10 Corvettes, most carrying soldiers from past wars.

Former Marine Staff Sgt. George Winton, 73, a Korean War vet, said the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks followed by the escalating conflict in Iraq has made it more important than ever to remember the ones doing the fighting.

"Because it's going to keep happening," said the disabled veteran while being helped into the passenger seat of a 1972 bryar blue Stingray.

Staff writers Margaret F. Bonafide, Larry Higgs and Zach Patberg contributed to this story. Bill Bowman: (732) 643-4212 or bbowman@app.com