On the 55th anniversary of the Vietnam War, about 100 people of all ages gathered to at the monument at the intersection of Mercer and Nassau Streets to celebrate Veterans Day.
“We often take for granted the things we should most be thankful for,” Princeton Mayor-Elect Liz Lempert said. “Let us never take for granted our veterans. Today we are reminded that freedom is not always free and we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to those who sacrificed so that we could live free. We must never forget the bravery, the patriotism and the sacrifice of our veterans.
“On behalf of Mayor Chad Goerner and the rest of Township Committee and the people of Princeton, we thank you for your service and honor you and your families today," Lempert said.
Veterans Day, which started as Armistice Day in 1919, honors American soldiers, airmen, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Mariners who have served and who continue to serve, both at home and abroad.
In Princeton on Monday, two World War II veterans laid the ceremonial wreath: Signalman Third Class Bill Hobbs, who served in the U.S. Navy in Saipan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa and Corporal Nick Fedorko, Jr., who served in the U.S. Army and landed at Omaha Beach.
Princeton Borough Council President Barbara Trelsdad said that although her father’s disability rendered him unable to serve, he did try to help local service members near his home in Oakland, Calif.
Active duty sailors from the air station in Alameda often came to visit the girls at nearby Mills College, but sometimes the unreliable late night bus service would jeopardize the young men’s chance of making curfew on the weekends, Trelsdad said.
So Trelsdad’s father would load his daughter into a small Chevy coupe, drive to the bus stop and give soldiers who needed a ride a ride back to the base.
“This small act of kindness by my dad has stuck with me all of my life," Trelsdad said. “I never let Veterans Day go by without remembering my dad and the sailors long ago who were selflessly serving their country. I try in my small way, and I encourage others to try, to always remember our veterans, not just on Veterans Day, but each and every day.
“To those who are serving now and those who have served, thank you so much, we will not forget.”