By Jane Primerano
After two rainy Memorial Days in a row, the organizers from
Musconetcong American Legion Post 278 who worked on the annual
parade and memorial ceremony were very happy with the weather on
Monday, May 28.
It was clear and not too hot and the turnout for the parade route from
the Netcong School through the center of town was crowded with
children and adults as fire and rescue apparatus from Netcong,
Stanhope and Budd Lake joined boy and girl scouts troops and high
school and middle school bands.
A flatbed trailer served as a stage at Netcong Memorial Park. Harry J.
Grant of Eastern Sound, himself a Vietnam Veteran, ran wires to four
speakers at the ends of the flatbed and set up the sound system as
members of the Legion Post, residents and visitors gathered in the
grassy area of the park on the shore of Lake Musconetcong.
American Legion Sussex County Commander and member of Post 278
Carl Beale was master of ceremonies as he has been for many years. He
was joined on the makeshift stage by Sussex County Freeholder George
Graham, Netcong Borough Mayor Joseph A. Nametko, Stanhope
Borough Council President Bill Thonton and Hugh Matlack, pastor of
the First Presbyterian Church of Stanhope. Stanhope Mayor Rosemarie
Maio had a family commitment, Thornton said.
Beale said “It is our obligation to come together once a year to thank all
veterans of all wars and conflicts.”
Nametko said, “We enjoy our freedoms and liberty, but they come with
Graham thanked the American Legion for continuing the tradition each
year. He said he attended a Gold Star Mother’s event in Hopatcong
which made honoring the war dead very personal.
Matlack, as he has been doing annually for some time, read the roster
of those lost in wars from World War I through the War on Terror who
came from Netcong, Stanhope and Budd Lake. As he read, the Lenape
Valley Regional High School Patriots Band played “Amazing Grace.”
The Hopatcong High School Chiefs Band played the themes from each
of the military services during the parade. The Valley Road Middle
School Band also made an appearance in the parade as they have for a
few years. Band Director Milanda Marshall who runs the middle school
program with parent Nancy Shay said it is good for the children to
interact at public events and get used to performing as preparation for
the Patriot’s Band when they get to high school. She said the part-time
program wouldn’t exist if not for Shay and other volunteer parents. The
parents donated t-shirts worn by band and chorus members.
One tradition that wasn’t observed was placing a wreath in Lake
Musconetcong. Beale said the legion would obtain a rowboat and place
the wreath at another time.
The American Legion Color Guard fired a salute over the water as they
have in past years.
After the ceremony, the parade re-formed and continued up
Ledgewood Road (Route 183) to the Legion Post for refreshments.