Posted Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018
COUNTY HONORS FOUR MORRIS WWII VETERANS WHO PERISHED ON THE USS JUNEAU IN 1942
Military veterans from across Morris County, and representing a host of military conflicts from Vietnam to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Desert Storm, were honored today at Morris County’s Memorial Day ceremony, which was sponsored by the Morris County Board of Freeholders and conducted on the lawn of the historic County Courthouse in Morristown.
The keynote speaker was Charles Jurgensen, a former Marine and retired Morris County Veterans Service Officer, who served the county’s military veterans and their families with distinction for 13 years.
Jurgensen is a 2016 recipient of the “Unsung Military Hero Service Award’’ for his long-time dedication to the needs of the county’s veterans.
“We in Morris County honor those Americans, like Charles Jurgensen, who have served in the armed forces, and we honor those Americans who have given their lives while serving to preserve our freedoms,’’ Freeholder Director Doug Cabana said at today’s event. “As President Ronald Reagan once said, ‘I don’t have to tell you how fragile this gift of freedom is. Every time we hear or watch or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world.’ ’’
Freeholders Cabana, Christine Myers, John Cesaro, Heather Darling and Deborah Smith were joined at the event by County Clerk Ann Grossi, Sheriff James Gannon, Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, and Superior Court Assignment Judge Stuart Minkowitz, among others dignitaries.
The county’s Memorial Day ceremony featured the freeholders presenting the Morris County Distinguished Military Service Medal to the seven honored Morris County veterans in recognition of their service to our nation.
The list of honorees includes:
The county’s Distinguished Service Medal is unique to Morris County and features the county seal encircled with the words, “Morris County Distinguished Military Service,” on the front. An outline of the county and the American flag is on the back of the medal, along with the words, “Morris County Freeholders Military Commemorative.”
Each medal’s striped ribbon is the color of the specific conflict during which the veteran served.
Since the freeholders began the program in 2000, nearly 10,000 medals have been presented to veterans or to their family members.
Today’s ceremony featured the Marine Corps Color Guard, Golf Co, 2nd Battalion, 25th Regiment from Picatinny Arsenal; the Morris County Sheriff’s Department Color Guard; an invocation by Pastor David G. Boone of Parsippany, a previous county veterans’ medal recipient; and patriotic songs by the Lakeview School Select Chorus of Denville.
Bagpipes were played by Captain Robert McNally of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and Pete Wojtal of the Essex County Emerald Society, and Police and Fire Pipes and Drums.
The wreath laying featured Prosecutor Knapp and Dominic Imperiale, the son of the recently deceased Alfonse Imperiale, who had been the Homeland Security Director of Critical Infrastructure for the Prosecutor’s office.
Also honored today were four Morris County World War II U.S. Navy veterans whose ship, the USS Juneau, went down in the Pacific in 1942.
Among 687 on board the Juneau were the Five Sullivan Brothers of Waterloo, Iowa, whose deaths shook the nation in 1942. The Juneau was lost until March of this year, when it was discovered in waters off of the Solomon Islands.
Four Morris County sailors were on the Juneau:
A moment of silence was held in their honor.
To view the full program, please visit: https://morriscountynj.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/2018-Memorial-Day-Program.pdf.
To view a photo gallery of the event, please visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/morriscountynj/albums/72157697169128195