Montgomery High School
What an amazing event and honor on 12-12-18 for Montgomery to host the “Wreaths Across America” Convoy this year on its way from Washington County, Maine to Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia on 12-15-18 to place wreaths upon the headstones of veterans.
A warm welcome to the convoy was organized by the Montgomery High School Principal and Vice-Principals, as well as the Montgomery Veterans Memorial Committee. Those who came out to greet the convoy included Montgomery Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the Montgomery High School Marching band, cheerleaders, dance team, other high school teams and clubs, and many residents and students – too many to mention them all. Convoy escorts include American Gold Star Mothers, Blue Star Families, Gold Star Wives of America, veterans and Wreaths Across America volunteers. Patriot Guard Riders, Patriot Riders of America and Rolling Thunder flanked the escort along with Maine law enforcement officers.The high school ceremony included a color guard from the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, representatives from Somerset County Veterans Affairs, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Rolling Thunder, civil war reenactors, and many more supporters of our veterans. Mayor Christine Madrid, Superintendent Nancy Gartenberg, and Principal Paul Popadiuk made welcoming comments.
Among speakers was Brigadier Gen. Michael L. Cunniff, a longtime Montgomery resident, who is the former Adjutant Gen. for New Jersey, commanding more than 9,000 soldiers and airmen of the New Jersey National Guard.
Chris Jaeger, a township police officer and an active member of the National Guard, shared about his experiences as a sergeant first class in Baghdad during the fall of 2008.
Principal Cory Delgado introduced students from Montgomery Upper Middle School who presented the veterans with special, hand-made gift items.
Bob and Cindy Roberts, Gold Star parents of Sgt. Kristie A. Roberts, a New York Army National medic who died in 2012, sharing moving comments with the audience, whose front row was reserved for Gold Star parents and other heroes from the convoy.
Teacher Gene Porcelli, Marine Corps veteran, shared about the hero who saved his and his patrol’s lives, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Army Veteran, singer, songwriter and philanthropist Rockie Lynne, founder of the NPO, “Tribute to the Troops,” performed from his program “FOR THE LOVE OF COUNTRY: A SALUTE TO WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT.” A special song, “Thank You” especially honored Vietnam Vets, who were greeted at the stage with hugs from many members of the audience.
Montgomery Veterans Memorial Committee member and Marine veteran Michael Maloney presented wreaths honoring our namesake, General Richard Montgomery, and all eight Purple Heart Order soldiers from Montgomery who were killed in action since the Revolutionary War. A wreath was presented to the family of Navy Lt. Michael M. McGreevy, whose daughter Laura, a current student at MHS, was an infant when her father was killed in action during Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).
Artie Muller, one of the founders of Rolling Thunder, an organization that advocates for veterans and families of those imprisoned or missing in action (POW/MIA), made final comments before a rendition of Taps was played by trumpeter Mati Orlow-Ng and the Montgomery High School marching band, to close the ceremony and send the convoy, which originated in Maine, on to continue its journey to Virginia.
To learn more about Wreaths Across America, go to: https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/ .
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