Recognition for four hometown vets Nov. 6

vetsday-2016On November 6, a small group of residents gathered at the Riverton War Memorial to commemorate Veterans Day 2016 and to see names of four more members of the armed forces added to the Honor Roll.

  • John W. Kohms
  • Bernard J. Swiderek
  • Anderson B. Winters Jr.
  • Alexander Cole

Appreciative friends and family members associated with those being recognized watched as Bob Smyth and Bill Brown officiated over the short ceremony.

Contact rivertonhistory@gmail.com if you are able to send scans of service photos for these or any other members of the armed services listed on the Honor Roll. – JMc

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HONORING RIVERTON VETERANS early, Sunday, Nov.6

The following names will be added to the Honor Roll at Riverton War Memorial to mark Veterans Day, Sunday, November 6, 2016 @10:30 a.m. (Veterans Day is on the following Friday, Nov. 11.)

  • John W. Kohms
  • Bernard J. Swiderek
  • Anderson B. Winters Jr.
  • Alexander Cole
Palmyra Weekly News, April 6, 1917
Palmyra Weekly News, April 6, 1917

Contact rivertonhistory@gmail.com if you are able to send scans of service photos for these or any other members of the armed services listed on the Honor Roll.

To mark the Centennial Commemoration of the US entry into WWI in 2017, the HSR will publish articles to honor the service of its armed forces, as well as to depict what life was like in Riverton during the war. Here’s a preview in the news clipping at right.

Remembering Our Fallen Heroes

Matthew P. Basara, Sr., lived in Riverton from 1959 until his death in 1991 at 203 Bank Avenue. He served in WWII in the Coast Guard and was honorably discharged.
Matthew P. Basara, Sr., lived in Riverton from 1959 until his death in 1991 at 203 Bank Avenue. He served in WWII in the Coast Guard and was honorably discharged.

President Obama said of Memorial Day in his address of May 28…

It’s the day we stop to reflect with gratitude on the sacrifice of generations who made us more prosperous and free, and to think of the loved ones they left behind.

Remembering them – searing their stories and their contributions into our collective memory – that’s an awesome responsibility.  It’s one that all of us share as citizens. 

Matthew P. Basara’s name will be added to the Honor Roll during Riverton’s Memorial Day service on Sunday, May 29, at 10:30 AM at the War Memorial on Main Street.

Maryann Fallows sent in this photo of her father. If you have any photos or hometown news clippings that we could include when we next update the Riverton Veterans Album, please contact me, John McCormick.

You can read President Obama’s entire remarks containing acts of remembrance at whitehouse.gov  – JMc

Lest we forget

Honor Roll and Band Stand, Palmyra, NJ undated postcard
Honor Roll and Band Stand, Palmyra, NJ undated postcard
Veterans Honor Roll Monument, Riverton, NJ
Veterans Honor Roll Monument, Riverton, NJ

The meticulously cared for Memorials to veterans in Riverton and Palmyra show the high regard and great respect with which citizens of these sister towns hold their veterans.

The Riverton Memorial Day service will be held on Sunday, May 29, at 10:30 AM. The VFW & American Legion will be present.

Two names, Matthew Basara and James McDermott, will be added.

Should you find yourself in the area on Sunday, stop by and pay your respects.  – JMc

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Rites of November

Betten Residence, 2nd and Main Sts.
Betten Residence, 2nd and Main Sts.

In the week preceding Veterans Day, Indian Summer temperatures finally retreated from this historic borough and the bill came due for living in Tree City – leaves!

The spectacular autumn hues were no more evident than at the corner of Second and Main Street near a home that has probably seen more changes of seasons than any other in Riverton.

Mike Spinelli clears leaves on Bank Avenue 11-4-2015
Mike Spinelli clears leaves on Bank Avenue 11-4-2015

Down the street, Michael Spinelli attacks a leaf clean-up on Bank Avenue while piles of collected foliage await pickup by the public works crew.

You just know Mike will have to do that all over again in a couple of days.

Until recently, the Riverton War Memorial had been showing its nearly three score and ten years, but it now benefits from the results of a serious recent restoration including brick pointing, a new roof and installation of a vent, and a new sign.

It also sports some new plaques to accommodate the original names and allow for additional names.

VetsDay 2015 01Since 1946, the monument on Main Street has displayed names of Riverton residents who served in the US Armed Forces during World War Two.

Since 2011, the Riverton Military & Veterans Affairs Committee has repurposed the Honor Roll to also include names of “…any present or former resident of the Borough of Riverton, New Jersey who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States of America during a time of war…”

The decision four years ago was not without its critics.

The Riverton Honor Roll stands today as a tangible community symbol and public acknowledgement of the sacrifice all of our veterans have made for our nation.

VetsDay 2015 05With this effort we express gratitude to veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, The Gulf War, Iraq War, Afghanistan and other conflicts, and we let them know that we appreciate and honor them for their service.

VetsDay 2015 10They come and peer through the glass and they look for their names and the names of their buddies; moms pick up the kids so they can see, too.

It is an undeniable truth of the world in which we live, that we must also now thank new generations of men and women who have defended our country and given us the freedom we enjoy today.

 

Thank you to Veterans and Auxiliary Supporters from VFW Post 3020.  Members of Richard W. Baskin’s family came to support him as his name was included on the Honor Roll that day. He holds his father’s service photo. – JMC

Vets Day 2015 is on our radar; please add to your calendar

Mayor Bill Brown tells us of some renovations taking place over at the Riverton War Memorial in time for the upcoming Veterans Day Observance on November 11.

Memorial sign2 5-2014 (1600x1600)As seen in this May 2014 photo, the decaying signage is among the least of the problems of the seven decade old structure.

Regular visitors here may recall the June 4, 2011 post in which we displayed a gallery of photos showing the construction of the Riverton War Memorial c.1946.

Various repairs and improvements to the grounds had been undertaken during its nearly 70 years of service, but increasing problems with dampness caused by a leaky roof prompted former US Marine and current Riverton Mayor, William C. Brown, Jr. to call for reinforcements to help make repairs.

Riverton folks, as is their nature, answered Bill’s call to arms… with hammers, and paint brushes, and cement… and went to work making repairs.

Bill sends this straightforward account of the undertaking, as is his get ‘er done, no-nonsense style.

  • Riverton Fire Department replaced the door and frame.
  • Steve Trotta repaired the roof and added an air vent, no charge
  • An anonymous donor retained Dennis Russell to cement and point the bricks.
  • I replaced the Riverton sign above the display window, and this week will stain and varnish the display area and mount the new plaques. The original names are now being transferred to the new plaques.
  • I am expecting a couple of additional names to be added on Veterans Day Nov 11, 2015.
  • On Veterans Day, there will be coffee and donuts at the Riverton School from 8:30 to 9:30, followed by a ceremony in the school gym.
  • Also on Veterans Day, the VFW conduct a ceremony between 10:30 & 11:00 AM at the War Memorial.

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Plan on coming out on November 11 and see the results of your neighbors’ efforts to restore the Memorial to a state befitting its solemn role in recognizing our veterans service and sacrifice.

If you know of a Riverton resident who served in the armed forces in time of war who is not named on the Memorial, and wish to have them listed on the Honor Roll, contact Robert Smyth, Chairman of Riverton’s Military & Veterans Affairs Committee bobsmythnj@aol.com 

Also, if you have any photos or hometown news clippings that we could include when we next update the Riverton Veterans Album, please contact me, John McCormick.

Finally, this next headline from this past September newsfeeds reminds us that veterans’ sacrifices did not end with conflicts in two World Wars, Korea, or even Vietnam, but continue during The War on Terror.

The Long Walk: 3 veterans, 3 dogs and a 100-mile journey to Ground Zero

Andrew Einstein (left) and Steven Walls acknowledge supporters who honk for them Tuesday during their "Long Walk," PHOTO CREDIT: Burlington Co. Times
Andrew Einstein (left) and Steven Walls acknowledge supporters who honk for them Tuesday. Their “Long Walk,” PHOTO CREDIT: Burlington Co. Times

On Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, Andrew Einstein, a Westampton police officer and former Marine, accompanied by his service dog Gunner, two other Marines and their canines, set out to walk from The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to One World Trade Center in New York City.

They walked to honor their fallen brothers, Marine Cpl. John Thornton, killed in action on 25 February 2006, in Ramadi, Iraq, and Staff Sgt. Christopher Diaz, killed in action 28 September 2011, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

According to a press release, the walk was about stepping away from the normality of civilian life and confronting PTSD by taking a Long Walk and dealing with the issues facing Global War on Terror Veterans.

They arrived at the Freedom Tower ahead of schedule on 9 September 2015.

Their fundraising efforts helped establish a scholarship in honor of John Thornton and a donation to The Rocky Mountain Dawgs Project in memory of Christopher Diaz.

Einstein, lives in Riverton with his wife, Jillian, service dog and cat Ginger.

There is much more to this inspiring story than we can include here, but here are some links to places that covered it in more detail, including the group’s Facebook page and GoFundMe page. You know links can get broken or later require a subscription so persevere and try another if one does not work.

Read more:

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Marines-to-Take-Long-Walk-to-Honor-Fallen-Soldiers-323450141.html#ixzz3pSZ9LPvN

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.791499500972538.1073741889.181775865278241&type=3

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2015/09/01/3-marines-honoring-a-pair-of-fallen-brothers-in-arms-with-the-long-walk/ (includes 1min:15sec video)

http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/2015/09/01/sj-cop-marine-walks-liberty-bell-freedom-tower/71468418/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin=

http://www.nj.com/burlington/index.ssf/2015/09/the_long_walk_3_vets_3_dogs_and_a_100-mile_journey.html

https://www.gofundme.com/thelongwalkusmc

Hope to see you on 11/11/15. – JMc

Veterans Day 2014 – We pause to thank vets; Bonus – the Editor learns a new thing

VetDay_2014_01Well, pre-Veterans Day, I guess, since the real deal is still two days away. I met a man today who gave me another insight into the service of veterans.

To the men and women of  VFW Post 3020 who have come to carry out honor guard duties, the deal is certainly real enough, as they again include Riverton War Memorial on their tour of duty for this beautiful Sunday morning.

As noted before here, this is only one of many stops the dedicated team will make as they perform at Veterans Day ceremonies in the area this week.

VetDay_2014_15Their members actually outnumbered the small group of civilians which had come acknowledge the sacrifice made by veterans to preserve our way of life and to witness the addition of three new names to the Riverton Honor Roll: Richard B. Frost-Army, Richard J. Laverty-Air Force, Alan Saville-Army.

For the relatives and friends who had come to witness those being inducted into the Riverton Honor Roll, it was a proud moment – certainly worth a photo-op.

clipping New Era, Aug 23, 1945At the conclusion of WWII, on August 23, 1945, Riverton’s hometown newspaper published a list of 32 names of area military personnel who “gave their lives for World Peace.”

The New Era article announced what the community already knew all too well, having endured five years of sending its young men and women to defend America:

Riverton, Palmyra, and Cinnaminson have contributed much in the blood of their sons to achieve the victory at which the Allied world rejoices.

That word – blood – followed by the long list of names, is a solemn reminder that many have paid the ultimate price for the freedom we enjoy today.

VetDay_2014_11
Richard B. Frost

At the end, I had the privilege of meeting a man who was one of the three men being added today. My friend, Don Dietz, introduced Richard B. Frost as an “Atomic Veteran.”

I did not know what that was.

Don explained (and I googled later) that according to the National Assn. of Atomic Veterans, atomic veterans are…

… members of the United States Armed Forces who participated in atmospheric and underwater nuclear weapons tests from 16 July, 1945 to 30 October 1962.

Since Congress repealed the Nuclear Radiation Secrecy Agreement Act in 1996, thus rescinding the Atomic Veteran secrecy oath, veterans may now tell of their participation in nuclear weapon testing without legal penalty. Don has suggested that we sit down with Mr. Frost and hear his story.

But just in case, keep that on the down low. You know – Loose lips…

If you have information or photos about a Riverton veteran that we could include here or in our Riverton Veterans Album, please let us know.

In closing, to all veterans and to the men and women of VFW Post 3020 , thank you for your service. – JMc

 

Vets Day Ceremony Sunday, Nov 9 at 10:30 am at Riverton War Memorial

I know it’s late notice, but I just heard myself. Bob Smyth tells me that there will be an observance of Veterans Day at the Riverton War Memorial tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 9 at 10:30 a.m. Previously, Bill Brown had notified me that the Riverton Veterans Affairs Committee will add three new names to the Memorial.

Richard B. Frost-Army, Richard J. Laverty-Air Force, Alan Saville-Army

clipping New Era, Aug 16, 1945WWI veterans New Era July 4, 1919Can you imagine the elation of Rivertonians in August 1945, upon hearing that World War Two had ended?

The pages of The New Era during the years of War II  may give those of us far removed from that experience a new appreciation of the debt we owe veterans for our freedom. (see all issues for the month – New Era Aug 1945 – big file)

A generation before that, in January 1919, the New Era published a huge list(clipping at right – click to open another window; click again for full enlargement) of men and women from Cinnaminson, Palmyra, and Riverton who had served in the Great War. (see all issues for the month – Jan 1919 New Era – big file)

A treasure trove of hometown news, The New Era continued publishing during the Korean War, but our archive includes none of those years. Nor does it include anything of the Viet Nam era.

We still hope that some of those “lost issues” will surface at some point and help us fill in the missing gaps. (List of available Historical Local Newspapers)

If you have any photos or hometown news clippings that we could include when we next update the Riverton Veterans Album, please contact me. – JMc

I hope you can come out in person and honor our veterans tomorrow.

 

VFW Post 3020 again answers the call to perform rites at Riverton War Memorial

Riverton War Memorial
Riverton War Memorial

It was an honor again to be at Riverton’s Annual Memorial Day Weekend Service at the Riverton War Memorial on Sunday, May 25.  

The Military & Veterans Affairs Committee added three names to the memorial: Norman E. Harris – Air Force, William A. Kupper – Army, Martin L. Schlindwein – Army.

Members of VFW Post 3020 make preparations for the ceremony.
Members of VFW Post 3020 make preparations for the ceremony.

The steadfast team of Veterans and Auxiliary Supporters from VFW Post 3020  who volunteer their time to perform Memorial Ritual Services once again carried out honor guard duties.

On this weekend traditionally seen as the beginning of summer, many others were probably enjoying picnics, sports events and family gatherings this beautiful Sunday even as these dedicated veterans executed their ceremonial duties here – Riverton being only one of eleven such services they would do that day.

MemDay2014_05The extraordinary self-sacrifice, dedication, and devotion to service these veterans demonstrate are somber reminders to us all of the reason for Memorial Day.

Two years since a disastrous fire destroyed their old post building at 1125 South Fairview Street in Delran, VFW Post 3020 will reopen its doors Sunday, June 8, 2014, with a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting as they celebrate having a home again and kick off their 80th Anniversary fundraising campaign.

Today’s function was one of many generously performed year-round by members of Post 3020.

The commitment of these brothers-in-arms to their fellow veterans and area communities is a year-round concern as they provide the final military salute for deceased veterans, lay wreaths at cemeteries, serve as honor guard at Riverton’s Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, support veterans and their families, welcome soldiers returning home from deployment, and even march in Riverton’s July Fourth Parade.

Please show all veterans that we appreciate their service and perhaps thank the members of Post 3020 for their efforts in performing this community service year after year.

 

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– John McCormick, Memorial Day 2014

 

 

 

Honor Roll to add six names with May 25th Memorial Day ceremony

War Memorial 2012
War Memorial 2012

The story of how Riverton’s War Memorial on Main Street came to be has been told on these pages before here and here. Over the years many persons have helped in restoration and beautification efforts. As a result, it is a beautiful and solemn place that invites us to acknowledge the great service and sacrifice paid by our military veterans to keep our freedoms.

Vintage Decoration Day and Memorial Day postcards
Vintage Decoration Day and Memorial Day postcards

We are reminded of the words of Maj. Gen. John A. Logan Gen. Logan’s order for his posts to decorate graves in 1868 “with the choicest flowers of springtime.”

He urged:

“We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. … Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners.

Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”

Certainly, the actions of the citizens of Riverton show they have not forgotten. Word comes from Mayor Bill Brown that the Borough’s Memorial Day Observance will take place Sunday, May 25, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. The Riverton Military & Veterans Affairs Committee will add the following names to the Veterans Honor Roll that day.

Norman E. Harris – Air Force

William A. Kupper – Army

Martin L. Schlindwein – Army

Kenneth P. Jones – Army

William Briggs – Army

George Brown – Army

We will add these names to our online Riverton Veterans Album and can include photos if anyone can help with supplying one.