June 2, 2017
From: Essex News Daily
BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Rain did not stop the Bloomfield Memorial Day Parade this past Monday as it did last year when a forecast scuttled the ceremony. Last year there was no contingency plan in the event of inclement weather, but this year there was. And although it did rain pretty well at times, the destination on Monday was not a reviewing stand outside the Civic Center but the auditorium of Bloomfield High School.
The ceremony was emceed by Recreation Department Director Michael Sceurman. The benediction was delivered by Pastor Ruth Boling of the Church on the Green. Boling called America an experiment.
“Thank you God for the freedom that democracy affords to us,” she said. “That the legacy of the fallen will inspire us to take part in a government of the people, by the people and for the people. God of peace, stir in the hearts of all people your desire for peace.”
Boling was followed by the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” by Elena Frizell. She was accompanied by the BHS marching band. Sidney Litchner, of the Jewish War Veterans, recited a poem.
Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia, with a moment of silence, acknowledged those who lost loved-ones in defence of America.
He asked everyone to spend time with those they love.
The two grand marshals presented essay contest winners with certificates. Four star Air Force Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski awarded Kaua Atexide. Harry Parson, a Vietnam-era veteran with the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, awarded Jaelyn Oramas. Both girls are students in Bloomfield Middle School. Pawlikowski is a BHS graduate, Class of 1974.
Among those seated on the auditorium stage were Bloomfield Business Administrator Matthew Watkins and council members Nicholas Joanow, Nina Davis and Carlos Pomares.
BHS Principal Chris Jennings spoke. He asked if non-veterans know the importance of the day. He said they do not.
“Wartime debts are national debts that can never be paid,” he said.
He said the defenders of America were a diverse group of people connected by a commitment to their country.
“People know about the big wars but what about the smaller conflicts?” he asked.
Frisell then sang “God Bless America.
Pawlikowski started by giving a “shout out” to her classmates in attendance. She said the 250 names on the BHS Class of 1974 Facebook page is a testament to the closeness of the community.
She spoke briefly about the history of the national anthem and then about her experience as a BHS student. She said she joined the marching band to go to the football games. She played the trombone.
“In 1972, Memorial Day was my first marching performance,” she said. “I thought if I should concentrate on playing or staying in step. I really didn’t think about Memorial Day.”
She said she wanted to be a journalist but ended up a four-star general in the Air Force.
“Go figure,” she said.
Military service, she said, was a blank check a soldier writes to their country.
“Yes, I did sign that blank check,” she said. “Today is all about the ones who didn’t come home.”Venezia gave her an American flag that flew over The Green the previous week.
Boling blessed the ceremonial wreath. “Holy God, by the strength of our convictions, we ask that this wreath be a symbol of our gratitude of those who serve and those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” she said.
From outside was heard a 21-gun salute, fired by the Bloomfield Police Department. “Taps” was played to end another Memorial Day.