A standing-room-only crowd of enthusiastic veterans and their families packed into the Hunterdon County 4H Fair’s Main Stage tent to salute the Class of 2019 Veterans’ Recognition Medal recipients, at the fair’s opening ceremonies, at the Roger K. Everitt Fairgrounds in Ringoes, N.J., on Aug. 21.
Included among the 50 Hunterdon County veterans who were honored was U.S. Navy veteran Jon Hanson of Annandale, a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
The veterans, spanning service from World War II to the War on Terror, were presented medals and certificates honoring their service. They joined the ranks of almost 4,000 other county veterans who were recipients of the award, which was created by Hunterdon County veteran John N. Hatzikalfas in 2002.
Four county veterans: Michael Aneskewich Sr., Richard Booth, Alva Cronce Jr., and James Toscanni were honored posthumously, with family members accepting their medals.
Hunterdon County Freeholder Board Director Suzanne Lagay told the flag waving, patriotic audience, “On behalf of all of my colleagues on the Freeholder Board, our Constitutional officers, and our state legislators, we are honored to join you today and we thank you, our veterans, for your service to and sacrifice for our nation.”
Lagay who is not seeking re-election this year, stated, “This is my sixth and final year as a member of the Hunterdon County Board of Chosen Freeholders. And for all those six years, to participate in this veterans ceremony each year has been the highlight.”
Freeholder Lagay pointed out that among the elected officials presenting medals to the veterans were Sen. Mike Doherty, a U.S. Army veteran, and Hunterdon County Sheriff Fred Brown, a U.S. Navy veteran.
Prior to the medal award ceremony, Hunterdon County Sea Scout Jack Dabb’s verbatim presentation of the late President Ronald Reagan’s “Freedom Is Not Free – A Soldier’s Pledge” speech, from the May 31, 1982, Memorial Day Ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, brought the crowd to its feet.
The attendees were entertained by the Rogers Dance Academy of Flemington.
Longtime 4-H Fair Master of Ceremonies Dan Torrone stated, “We are so proud of our Hunterdon County veterans. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the 4-H Fair.”