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 

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: (includes 1min:15sec video)

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.

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
    • William Briggs, Army
    • George Brown, 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.

Veterans Day 2013 prompts a major revision of the Riverton Veterans Album

Vets Day 2013_05

After the November 2013 Veterans Day ceremony I set out to revise the 68 slide PowerPoint Riverton Veterans Album by incorporating newspaper clippings from the digitalized New Era newspapers that we made available online last year.

As the project grew, it crashed my computer so I split the file in two and kept going until the two totaled 163 slides – almost 300MB. Finally converted to a more digestible 53.6MB PDF, someone might actually have the leisure time to download and watch at least part of it.

The Riverton Veterans Album now includes original names from the Riverton War Memorial plus many other names of presumably Riverton military personnel culled from the old New Era newspaper articles.

Please know that the HSR does not decide what names appear on the Memorial – the Riverton Military & Veterans Affairs Committee does that. Nevertheless, The New Era, the hometown newspaper back then, certainly seemed to claim many names of service personnel not listed on the Memorial as having a Riverton pedigree.

Scanning dozens of service photos, reading hundreds of World War II era newspaper issues, and compiling that tribute to Riverton veterans gave me a new appreciation for those heroic men and women who “… answered the call to save the world from the two most powerful and ruthless military machines ever assembled, instruments of conquest in the hands of fascist maniacs… They won the war; they saved the world.”

Not my words – Tom Brokaw’s, from his superb book, The Greatest Generation.

Honor Roll Album screenshotPlease let us know what you think of Riverton’s Greatest Generation as outlined in this very much expanded Riverton Veterans Album.

As always, we encourage our readers, our greatest resource, to participate in this work in progress.

If you can add to the information listed for yourself or a family member, or point out any errors, please contact me so that I may update the presentation. I sincerely hope that we can expand the presentation even further and develop it into a useful resource. Readers, you can help achieve this by providing more pertinent details, scans, news articles, and donated items.  – John McCormick

Committee’s efforts add another page to Betty Hahle’s “History of Our War Memorial”

Riverton Memorial logoVets Day 2013_08

The Honor Guard from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3020 provided a prayer, a wreath, and a rifle salute to help Riverton show veterans that we deeply appreciate the sacrifices they have made in their lives to keep our country free.

The group will have a busy week with several appearances at ceremonies in the area, notably Cinnaminson and Delran. Their dedication to “Honor the dead by helping the living” has earned them three VFW National Outstanding Community Service Awards.

at left, Bob Smyth
at left, Bob Smyth

Robert E. Smyth, Riverton Military & Veterans Affairs Committee Chairperson, and Mayor William C. Brown, Jr. officiated as  nameplates for Jeffrey R. Cole, Edward J. Lohan Jr., Frank G. Lockhart, William G. Lockhart, and Harry Watkins became part of the distinguished Honor Roll of Riverton’s military veterans.  Vets Day 2013_11

Regular readers may recall that Memorial Park was named for veterans of World War I and the Riverton War Memorial mainly records the names of those from Riverton who served in America’s armed forces during World War II.

Former Town Historian Mrs. Betty B. Hahle wrote a concise history of the War Memorial for the 2004 July Fourth Program booklet.

Vets Day 2013_14Certainly, Borough Council wrote another page of Riverton history in January 2012, when it formed the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee which made a simple change to the eligibility requirement resulting in dozens of veterans’ names from post-WWII conflicts being added to the Honor Roll.

Vets Day 2013_04Further, a number of current residents who were not living here at the time of their service found that they, too, could apply to have their names included on the Memorial.

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, is eligible to have their name placed on the memorial.

at right, Peter Martucci, name added 2011;
at right, Peter Martucci, name added 2011;

Perhaps the Military & Veterans Affairs Committee has now more fully achieved its mission to honor servicemen and women from the borough.

It sends the message Bob Smyth voiced about the 2012 Vets Day 2013_10Veterans Day ceremony. It shows “…all the residents and those who have served that we are here to support current military personnel and veterans.”

It has become, as Mayor Brown imagined it in May 2012, a memorial “…dedicated to past and present heroes.”

As before, we will post a service photo of any Riverton veteran in our online  Riverton Veterans Album PDF if we can be provided a scan. Look for an update to that tribute soon to include the five names added today along with photos and other images received since the last update.

I can add names to captions here if a reader can advise me of any I have neglected. Your comments are welcome.  – John McCormick

Riverton citizens honor veterans’ sacrifice and laud additional names to Memorial on this sacred day

Memorial Day 2013_01Memorial Day evolved from Decoration Day observances after the Civil War in which people decorated graves of soldiers who died in the conflict with flowers. Various communities claim that their ceremonies originated the ritual. After World War I tributes came to embrace honoring the dead of all of our nation’s wars. Now observed on the last Monday in May (in order to assure a three-day weekend to kick-start the summer), in Riverton, at least, the day also serves as another way to honor the military service of our Borough’s citizens by adding their names to the War Memorial.

The distinguished Honor Roll of military veterans listed on the Riverton War Memorial grew by ten names during a tribute directed by Mayor Bill Brown and Robert Smyth, Chairman of  Riverton’s Military & Veterans Affairs Committee.

Uniformed members of VFW Post 3020 and American Legion Post 146, both of Riverside, lent solemnity to the occasion with a display of colors, a wreath laying, and rifle salute. A moving prayer gave everyone a moment to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.

A respectful crowd applauded for each of the ten names Robert Smyth read aloud. Mayor Brown explained that new wood plaques with metal nameplates will eventually replace the memorial’s original lists that date from 1945.

    • Richard N. Buckalew
    • Theresa Buckalew
    • James Hamlin
    • William A. Kupper Jr.
    • George J. Mack Jr.
    • Elliot Richardson III
    • Robert E. Richardson
    • Frank Siefert
    • Herman R. Trout Jr.
    • Samuel Wargny

This update of the Honor Roll Album includes the ten names listed above, photos of Paul V. Daly, Jr. and Richard and Theresa Buckalew, plus several more New Era news clippings. The burgeoning PowerPoint has grown to almost 60MB and a reader recently reported difficulty in downloading it, so a 12MB PDF is now available as an alternative.

If you would like a higher resolution file of any image on the Album please ask and I will send it to  you.

Riverton Veterans Album PPSX                     Riverton Veterans Album PDF

Many veterans are not represented in the Album with a photo. Please contact us if you can supply a scan of a veteran’s photo, a news clipping, or some such military memorabilia suggestive of their service era.

Jackie Buckalew Hicks tells me that she posted a link on Facebook with a note to let others know how to go about adding their parents’ names to the Memorial. Thanks, Jackie. We need all of the help we can get. Scroll all the way down the page to find our Facebook button and please “like” us. – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor

Veterans Day 2012 – Riverton honors veterans; adds seven names to Honor Roll

Mayor William Brown and Robert Smyth preside over Riverton Veterans Day ceremonies on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012.

With their customary precision, perhaps a result of their own past military service, Riverton’s Mayor William Brown and Robert Smyth, Chairman of  Riverton’s Military & Veterans Affairs Committee, completed another mission of the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, which formed in January: to honor the servicemen and women from the borough.

American Legion Post 146 of Riverside and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3020 of Delran lent a hand in honoring their comrades.


They presided over a brief but heartfelt Sunday morning tribute to America’s military personnel that added seven names to Riverton’s War Memorial Honor Roll.

Elton Catoe – Navy Donald D’Amato – Air Force Alfred W. DeVece – Navy
Paul M. Hoad – Army George A. Mack – Navy William Ulrich – Army 
  Anthony R. Wellens – Navy
Young men and women of Riverside High School ROTC presented the colors.

Jeannie O’Sullivan, Burlington County Times Staff Reporter, filed this affecting story  at  in which she interviewed Mayor Brown, Bob Smyth, George Mack and others. Jeannie has covered such events in Riverton before, and her writing always manages to convey to her readers the humanity we share with those whom she profiles.

L. to R. Mayor Bill brown, Jeff Mack, and his dad, George A. Mack

Reading her story and seeing her photos, one must admire the veterans and the earnest young men and women of the ROTC for their devotion to their country and comrades and for helping a neighboring town celebrate Veterans Day.

The glass of the Riverton War Memorial reflects the faces of veteran George Mack and his son, Jeff, as they inspect the list of names within the showcase.

Mayor Bill Brown and former Borough Councilman Bob Smyth have for some time championed the cause to support  current military personnel and veterans. Part of that support takes the form of publicly acknowledging and recognizing the service and sacrifice of our veterans on the Riverton War Memorial’ Honor Roll.

Their reward has been seeing the joy on the faces of Mr. George A. Mack and his family, and more than sixty other Riverton residents who have had their names added to the War Memorial since May 2011.


Members of Riverside High School ROTC attend to the colors

We acknowledge the efforts of Borough leadership to include in its recognition at this Memorial the service of all Riverton residents who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States of America during a time of war. 

We gratefully say  “thank you” to Mr. George A. Mack and to all of America’s veterans, to let them know that we appreciate them for their service and honor them for their sacrifices.

Please help add to our expanding Riverton Veterans Honor Roll Album PowerPoint Slideshow (58MB) if you have a service photo or news clipping for a veteran listed within, or some other item related to Riverton’s home front.  – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor

Riverton Veterans Album updated with new names and photos

The Memorial Day ceremony at the Riverton War Memorial on May 27, 2012 added fourteen new names to the Veterans Honor Roll. We post here our Riverton Veterans Album which shows the names of all veterans now listed on the Riverton War Memorial as well as many of their service photos.

The Honor Roll Album is a 55-page virtual scrapbook full of photos, news clippings from the hometown New Era newspaper, period advertisements,  wartime posters, even ration stamps.

Click here to download the 48MB PowerPoint Slideshow.

If you can supply another item that would add to this Historical Society tribute to the men and women of Riverton who have served the United States. please send us a scan. – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor