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 phillyburbs.com  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

Memorial Day marked by veterans, friends, and family May 27, 2012


Each Memorial Day the men in the honor guard bear the colors and provide the triple volley rifle salute that is part of the pageantry which both uplifts and comforts our spirits on this day of remembrance. Dressed in crisp dress uniforms, they carry out their duties with military discipline, and help us remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all. Certainly, the ceremony would not be the same without the presence of these warriors who now volunteer to serve their country again by performing this service as well as performing at final graveside honors for deceased veterans.

Please add a caption or tag to any photo (by photo number) in the comment box, or send us a longer comment by email if you can tell our readers about these dedicated men of the honor guard who so generously gave of their time to participate in Riverton’s Memorial Day ceremony.

Riverton’s War Memorial drew many veterans and their friends and family on Sunday morning to remember and honor military personnel who served the United States of America. Some came to support one of the fourteen new names that were added to the Honor Roll as a result of a recent change in the eligibility requirement. Details are on the Borough webpage.

Names added Sunday include:

Armand J. Bianchini Joseph A. Creighton, Jr. Robert I. Heck
George E. Horner Jr. Donald R. Hubbs Elwood C. Johnson
John S. Latimer Joseph Matera Bryan H. Norcross
Frank C. Quattrocchi Richard W. Schwering Monroe O. Steedle
Donald R. Taylor Thomas C. Whitelock

If you can supply any details about a photo, do so in the comment box and include the number of the photo. For example, Mayor Bill Brown is pictured in #14.

The Riverton Honor Roll Album has been updated to include these names, but we would very much like to also display a service photo for as many veterans as we can. Kindly send a scan of the veteran named on the Honor Roll and we will include the photo in the next update of the album. – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor

Borough plans Memorial Day service Sunday, May 27; More Vets’ names to be listed on Honor Roll; Whitelock Memorial June 2

In March 2012, we received this gratifying email from the son of a Riverton military veteran.

From: Martin Edsell
Sent: 03/09/12 04:19 PM
To: rivertonhistory@usa.com
Subject: veteran photo – Gerard Clark Edsell

Gerard Clark Edsell

Dear Mr. McCormick,
I enjoy reading the many articles you write for the Historical Society of Riverton (found online at:  https://rivertonhistory.com/ ).

In the February issue of the Gaslight News, you requested photos of servicemen and women to match with the names on the Riverton War Memorial. My father’s name (Gerard Clark Edsell) was added to the Memorial in a ceremony last Veteran’s Day (11-11-11).

Attached are two photos of my father, either of which you may use in your online Honor Roll Album.

During World War II, my father was a Technical Sergeant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps.  From Nov. 1940 until Dec. 1945, he was stationed both stateside and on various islands overseas (Guadalcanal, New Caladonia, Bouganville, Mumda, and Manilla).

A resident of Riverton for over fifty years (from 1950 until his death in 2003), my father along with my mother (Eileen) raised seven children in the town. All of us have fond memories of growing up there.  Though the last Edsell moved out of Riverton just this past December, we can all continue to follow your articles online.

Mr. McCormick, thank you for your good work in keeping alive the history of our town and in helping to honor our veterans.

Martin Edsell

Shortly afterward, I updated the online Riverton Veterans Honor Roll Album. With Memorial Day just two weeks away, this is a good time to renew our request for readers to supply us with photos of Riverton service men and women to match with the names on the Riverton War Memorial. The Borough website has information about how to verify eligibility.

Citizens assembled on Memorial Day 2011, a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.

Mayor Bill Brown recently wrote to let us know that the Memorial Day service will be held on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.  The Riverton Military & Veterans Affairs Committee will add the following names to the Veterans Honor Roll that day:

Armand J. Bianchini Joseph A. Creighton, Jr. Robert I. Heck
George E. Horner Jr. Donald R. Hubbs Elwood C. Johnson
John S. Latimer Joseph Matera Bryan H. Norcross
Frank C. Quattrocchi Richard W. Schwering Monroe O. Steedle
Donald R. Taylor Thomas C. Whitelock
Officer Thomas C. Whitelock

Military veteran Thomas C. Whitelock (listed above) will also be honored with a memorial of another kind on Saturday, June 2, 2012.

On Jan. 14, 1976, the seven-year veteran Riverton patrolman was killed in the line of duty as the result of responding to a call of a suicidal man in an apartment on Lippincott Avenue.

The Police Department and the Borough invites the community to the plaque dedication ceremony to honor Patrolman Whitelock’s heroism at the corner of Broad and Main Streets near the gazebo on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 10:00 AM.

The Riverton Borough website has more information about Officer Whitelock and the ceremony here.

Burlington County Times staff writer Matt Chiappard relates more details of this tragic story in an article titled, “Decades later, a fitting memorial for a fallen Riverton officer”.

If you wish, you may join others who have left a reflection on the Officer Down Memorial Page.

To make a donation to the Thomas C. Whitelock Memorial and its maintenance, contact the Riverton Police Association, Attn: Memorial Fund, 501 Fifth St., Riverton, N.J. 08077.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs posts a straightforward answer to the FAQ (frequently asked question),

Q. What is the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?

A. Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.

It is our privilege to devote part of rivertonhistory.com to honor Riverton veterans. It is a small, symbolic way say to all service men and women in the armed forces, “Thank you for your service.”

Maj. Gen. John A. Logan

Did you know that Memorial Day had its origin with the observance of placing flowers on the graves of Civil War dead? Dozens of communities throughout the North and South claim to have started the ritual that came to be called Decoration Day, but it was Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, the head of an organization of Union veterans, who issued General Orders No. 11 with these eloquent words:

The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country…

… Let no vandalism of avarice or 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.

vintage Memorial Day postcard from Moore's Postcard Museum

The restoration of the Riverton War Memorial and grounds to a place of solemn beauty along with the recent effort to recognize veterans who served during other conflicts in addition to World War Two seem to have turned back the clock to a former time.

On a day seen by some communities as simply part of a three-day weekend that heralds the start of summer, Riverton shows that Memorial Day is a sacred day of remembrance to honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms.

Consider stopping by the Memorial on Sunday, May 27, and at the gazebo at Broad & Main on Saturday, June 2, to remember our veterans and a police officer, without whom, the pages of history would tell a much different story.

– John McCormick, Gaslight News editor

New Military and Veterans Affairs Committee formed; HSR Vet page updated

If you saw the last page of the February Gaslight News you read that we added several photos of service personnel to the Riverton Honor Roll Album. At the Plum Run performance this past Friday, one of the spectators handed off to me the latest acquisition –  a wallet-sized photo of a 17-year-old Marine. Who knew way back then that the young man would be Mayor of Riverton in 2012?

One of the first official acts of the newly elected Mayor and Borough Council in January was the passing of RESOLUTION 12-12 which authorizes the establishment of The Riverton Military and Veterans Affairs Committee with the designation of Robert E. Smyth as chair of this committee.

Look for Mayor William C. Brown, Jr. and perhaps some others you might know in the Riverton Honor Roll Album – The Historical Society of Riverton’s salute to honor those men and women of Riverton who have served their country in time of war. 

This last update is a 54-slide 50MB PowerPoint so give it a few moments to load. You’ll need the free PowerPoint viewer to see it. If any member has difficulty seeing this, please advise and I will help.

It has a full list of all names on the Riverton War Memorial as of Feb. 2012 and displays photos of about 70 personnel (so far), newspaper clippings, posters, periodical advertisements, and memorabilia. Names of persons for whom we have photos have are indicated with an asterisk. If you can supply us with a scan of someone already on the list, we’ll display the photo in the next update. We welcome submissions of scans of other remembrances for inclusion in our virtual online scrapbook.

If you can suggest your own name or someone else’s to be included on the Memorial, please see the instructions below.

The eligibility is as follows: Any present or former resident of the Borough of Riverton, living or deceased, 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.

Proof of eligibility: DD-214 (discharge papers) or a copy of your military orders. Submit proof of eligibility to the Riverton Military & Veterans Affairs Committee.

Interested parties who would like to serve on this committee should contact Mayor Wm. C. Brown, Jr. or Robert E. Smyth through contact info you can find on the Riverton Borough webpage.

And please check your own family albums and scrapbooks to see if there is something in there that you could share with other Rivertonians across the miles – and across the years. – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor



Fifteen names added to Memorial Honor Roll 11-11-2011

8:55 a.m. 11-11-2011

On November 11, 2011, a small but resolute band of citizens braved a very windy and chilly Fall morning and assembled at the Riverton Veterans’ Memorial for a ceremony to honor veterans and witness the addition of fifteen names to the Honor Roll.

Speaking for the VFW, Thomas J. Farrell declared, “When it comes to the ‘Greatest Generation’… it is the generation that has to bear the burden of Freedom. No matter what war–every generation has taken their place, and did what was necessary to preserve our way of life.”  His heartfelt address served to recognize the extraordinary service and sacrifice of each generation of men and women which has served our country during conflict, as well as underscore the borough’s new policy of inclusiveness in regard to eligibility for the Honor Roll.

Honor Roll Eligibility: Any present or former resident of the Borough of Riverton, living or deceased, 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.

To verify eligibility, you must present a copy of your DD-214 (discharge papers) or a copy of your military orders. Contact either Councilman Bill Brown (now Mayor-elect) or President of Council Bob Smyth through the Riverton Borough Contact Page.

Names added to the Honor Roll 11-11-2011:  George H. Baker     Charles E. Bishop     Michael E. Burns     Thomas A. Cairns Jr.     William W. Cook Sr.     Gerard C. Edsell     J.E. “Betty” (“Jef”) Fountain-Schopp     John J. Martin     Allan P. Mason     Mitchell J. Rabil     Ralph J. Ragomo     John B. Shaw     Edward D. Smyth     James G. Stanton     Robert B. Stevenson

This plaque displays the name of Navy veteran Mr. Gene J. Bandine, at left, and dozens of others added since Memorial Day 2011.

Photos recently added to the Album: J.E. Fountain-Schopp     Carl T. McDermott     Paul C. McDermott     William J. McDermott     Ralph J. Ragomo     Lester R. Yearly     Joseph L. Yearly

Readers, if you are a qualified Riverton veteran or know of someone who is, please help us honor Riverton veterans by adding their photo to the Historical Society of Riverton’s online Veterans’ Honor Roll Album. Fifteen names and seven more photos have been added since the last addition of this past Memorial Day.

Click on this link to view a short video clip (1 min., 37 sec.; 38MB) of the ceremony. – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor

Mrs. Alice Cook Costello’s donated photos chronicle dad’s construction of Riverton’s War Memorial

Riverton’s War Memorial c.1946

The September 2010 issue of the Gaslight News acknowledged the gift last May by Mrs. Alice Cook Costello, now living in Burlington, of more than a dozen family photos showing the construction of Riverton’s War Memorial. Newsletter space only permitted the publication of one picture, but now, if you have the time, we have the real estate here to display most of them.

Letter from Mrs. Cook dated May 24, 2010

In a letter that she included with the donated photos, Mrs. Costello wrote that her father, Mr. William W. Cook,“spent many hours in the planning and the construction” (of the monument).

Mr. William Harris of Cinnaminson Street, who passed away last December, recalled his time as a ten-year-old boy running errands for the men working and of Mr. Cook‟s enthusiasm for the project.

William Henry Harris

When it was time for lunch they sent William to Karl Frank’s store (now Cioci’s Deli) to buy ½ lb. bologna, ½ lb. cheese, and a loaf of Bond bread from which they made their sandwiches. William reported that when the concrete foundation was poured, Mr. Cook took a penny from his pocket and threw it in for good luck.

In this sequence of photos, which Mrs. Costello dates as about 1945-1946, we see the transformation of that empty lot into what would become an enduring reminder of the service of men and women of Riverton who served their country in time of war.

Readers, please know how much that the HSR appreciates and values the donation of unique primary source historical material by generous and community-minded persons such as Mrs. Costello. No less valuable are the recollections, oral histories, and personal stories of those who came before which can add immeasurably to the historical record.

Please help us in our mission to discover, restore, and preserve local history of all manner and size, and consider donating items (or allowing them to be scanned or photographed) and documenting your “Riverton” story.

We’re here to help you tell it. – John McCormick, Gaslight News Editor



Riverton Remembers its Veterans

On Sunday morning, May 29, 2011, a gathering of Riverton folk assembled at the War Memorial on Main Street to witness a ceremony complete with honor guards and gun salutes in which the Honor Roll swelled by the addition of over thirty new names. The spirited crowd clapped appreciatively for each and every veteran as President of Borough Council Bob Smyth read the names aloud. Councilman Bill Brown began months ago by publicizing a policy change which has resulted in more veterans becoming eligible for inclusion on the monument’s plaques. The newly renovated grounds, brickwork, landscaping, and a warmly expressive crowd all joined to compose a perfect picture of Main Street, USA and express the sentiment of the day to veterans everywhere, “Thank you for your service.”

Here are a few pictures…. Send me some more, or add a comment/caption to these.

Click here to read a great article by Kristen Coppock, Staff Writer for the Burlington County Times, in which she interviews Mayor Brown who explains that this policy of recognizing veterans of other conflicts in addition to World War Two actually germinated seven years prior.

I found a folder in our HSR archives loaded with photos of veterans. I matched them up to the names on the Honor Roll and put together this virtual photo album. Click here to download the 36.4MB PowerPoint Slide Show. If you can add to the album with an old photo or a new one, please contact me.  – John McCormick, Gaslight News Editor