Posted Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019
Awarded County Medals to Veterans of World War II, Vietnam, Middle East, and Afghanistan Conflicts
Military veterans from across Morris County, and representing a host of military conflicts, from World War II and Vietnam to Operation Iraqi Freedom, 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 decorated U.S. Army veteran and Morris County American Legion Commander Amery Vasso, who served for 23 years, including Middle Eastern conflict zones in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
“We in Morris County honor those Americans, like Amery Vasso, who have served with honor 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 Harry Truman said, ‘Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.’”
Freeholders Cabana, Heather Darling, Tom Mastrangelo, Kathy DeFillippo, Deborah Smith, John Krickus, and Stephen Shaw were joined at the event by Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, 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 full list of honorees include:
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. Taps were courtesy of Larry Schillings of Bugles Across America.
The wreath laying featured Ann Doltz, sister of the late U.S. Army veteran Ryan Doltz of Mine Hill, who perished in battle in Iraq in 2004, and Bronze Star Sgt. Michael Scuzzese, who served with Ryan Doltz in Iraq.
USS Indianapolis/John Konesny:
Also honored today was the late Seaman John Mathew Konesny of Whippany, representing the crew of the USS Indianapolis, which was torpedoed in the South Pacific nearly 50 years ago, and losing all but 317 sailors from a crew of about 2,000.
The massive ship went down in just 12 minutes after being struck, leaving Seaman Konesny and some 900 mates in the shark-infested Pacific waters. Konesny, who died in those waters, received a posthumous Purple Heart and is remembered on the Tablets of the Missing at Manilla American Cemetery in the Philippines.
A moment of silence was held in his honor.
To view the full Memorial Day program, please visit: https://morriscountynj.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/PROGRAM-2019-FINAL.pdf