Hamilton Honors Current Members of Military on Armed Forces Day
Remarks by Mayor John Bencivengo, Hamilton
I want to welcome you to our Hamilton Township Armed Forces Day Ceremony.
It is an honor and a privilege for me to be here with you, today.
Before our ceremony this morning, I helped kick-off a charitable walk for the ARC Mercer --- a wonderful organization that serves our fellow residents with special needs.
The walk began by our Park Pavilion, next to our park’s Volley Ball courts, which are built upon sand.
As I stared at the sand, my mind began to wander for a moment.
My thoughts began to think of a desert, where the sand is plentiful, but where the days are quite hot and dry….
And where the nights are very cold and unforgiving
Somewhere in a desert, halfway around our globe, there are people who are enduring these challenging and most difficult conditions.
Their brows are moist because the sun is beating down upon them, as sweat drips from their foreheads.
I know they thirst …
And I am sure that they are tired and exhausted…
I am certain that their bodies ache from the harsh environment…
Just as I know their hearts ache from being far away from their families, friends and loved ones
Their bodies are covered in camouflage
Their shoulders endure the weight of their heavy back-packs
And yet, an even heavier weight --- lies upon their souls
Somewhere else in the world, well beneath the surface of the seas, are other people, who are enduring very different, but equally trying, circumstances
At their posts, they travel on vessels, at depths that most of us will never venture
They cannot see the sunlight as they carry out their missions
They will not be able to breathe fresh air, gaze at the moon or watch the stars a pleasant summer evening
Nor will they be able to enjoy a leisurely walk to unwind after a long-day at work
As they leave from their base – they know that it might easily be a year before they will return to that same location
They cannot be visited by a loved one where they will be deployed
They will live in quarters so tight and so small that even the strongest of minds might experience the effects of claustrophobia
And they will endure an unchanging scenery that would test even the toughest of souls
Still — in yet another location – are people who fly high above the clouds at speeds that exceed sound
Their duties are not for the meek of heart or the weak of stomach
Their courses of travel are not in straight paths….but in loops, and cork-screws, and nose dives
When they pass through the clouds at heights that can touch the heavens, they probably feel an exhilaration that few will ever know
Yet, they likely pray that they will never have to use their parachutes or, even worse, fall from the heavens because of enemy fire
And finally, somewhere in this world, are a select few individuals who we do not even know their names…
On a secret mission, they stealthily moved in dangerous territory, avoiding the notice of
those who oppose freedom and liberty
They may never enjoy the praise or acknowledgement that they most certainly deserve
But this group of heroes did something that we could only dream of 10 years ago
…This small group of heroes enacted a final justice to a vile terrorist who stole the lives of thousands of innocent Americans on September 11, 2001
Thanks to the men and women who are actively serving in our United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp and Coast Guard, you and I can enjoy this Saturday in freedom and peace
Thanks to the brave and courageous members of our Armed Forces, today, we can experience liberty and enjoy the pursuit of happiness, right here in Hamilton Township, New Jersey
And, while I also want to thank all of our veterans who are with us today – who wore the uniform in the past and sacrificed so much for all of us, including our current military…
Today, we celebrate Armed Forces Day
And today, like we should every single day, we remember, we celebrate and we thank all of our young men and women who have voluntarily put themselves in harm’s way…
To protect our nation
To avert another terrorist attack on our soil,
And to promote freedom in foreign lands all around our world
We admire you, we love you and we long for your return
May God continue to Bless the brave members of our Armed Forces, and May God continue to Bless Hamilton Township and the United States of America.