Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Message: Veterans, Unite

Naming myriad veterans’ organizations, Frank E. Coit said Monday the time has come for all to unite.

Coit, a past commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, spoke at Memorial Day services held on the steps of City Hall and at the monument on its grounds.

He thanked World War II and Korean veterans “for carrying the banner this far” and called on Vietnam veterans and others to “step up to the plate” in a unified effort for veterans’ causes. Coit thanked Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs for including space for the Plainfield Veterans Alliance in the new senior center building.

At the state and national levels, Coit said commanders of veterans’ organizations must work for unity. He said former Governor James E. McGreevey had called a meeting of all state commanders during his term, but he said nothing has been done since. Under the Bush administration, he said, veterans’ benefits have decreased.

“Where is the voice of our national veteran organizations commanders?” he asked.

In her remarks, Robinson-Briggs endorsed the call for unity, noting her motto for the city is “Growth by Unity.” She thanked the veterans for protecting a nation that has not always been supportive of them and said of those serving in the Middle East now, “It’s time to bring them home.”

The program began with a color guard from Plainfield High School’s Junior ROTC and Lisa S. Dixon, Commander of American Legion Post 219, was mistress of ceremonies. Her father, Rev. Robert Dixon, chaplain of Post 219, gave the invocation. A wreath was placed at the monument on City Hall grounds and veterans from American Legion Post 219 and VFW Post 7474 fired a salute.

After the program, Robinson-Briggs gave out flags for cars and flag lapel pins to those who attended.

--Bernice Paglia


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