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Gloucester County Will Hold Ceremonies to Commemorate Memorial Day Weekend

(Woodbury, NJ)-The Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Gloucester County Veterans Advisory Committee (GCVAC) announced today the schedule of Memorial Day Ceremonies for Friday, May 26 and Sunday May 28, 2006.

The Friday, May 26th event is a new pre-Memorial Day ceremony that has been organized by the GCVAC. This ceremony will begin at 7:00 pm and feature speakers Freeholder Director/Senator Stephen M. Sweeney, Senator Fred Madden and guest speaker Brigadier General Maria Falca-Dodson, Deputy Adjutant General of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Gene Lillie, Chairman GCVAC, will serve as the master of ceremonies and a POW/MIA ceremony will be conducted by Tony Halas, United States Air Force Vietnam Veteran.

As part of this ceremony, members of the Semper Fidelis Detachment, Marine Corps League in Wenonah will conduct the United States Flag Folding Ceremony. The meaning of each fold of the Flag will be announced. The Flag being folded flew over the Capital Building in Washington DC on the Marine Corps Birthday, November 10, 2000. The Flag will be presented to a Gold Star Mother from Gloucester County. TAPS will be played as part of the Flag Folding Ceremony. A presentation of "They Were Ours", an adaptation from a book by John Campbell on the losses in Vietnam from Gloucester County will conclude the ceremony.

The event will take place at Williamstown High School Auditorium.

On Sunday, May 28th at 1 pm the Official County Memorial Day Ceremony will be held at the Gloucester County Veterans Memorial Cemetery. This hour-long ceremony includes the GCVAC, Cemetery Honor Guard, Marine Corps Leagues, Freeholders, JROTC, Wreath Laying, Gun Salute and Taps.

"This Memorial Day Weekend we invite citizens to come out and honor those who gave their lives serving our country by attending either of these two special ceremonies," said Freeholder Director Sweeney.  "It is an honor to have Brigadier General Maria Falca-Dodson and our local veterans' organizations to participate in our ceremonies, the Veterans Advisory Commission has organized beautiful ceremonies to pay tribute to the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom."

Sweeney said, "Just over this past weekend alone seven American service members were killed in Iraq according to the Associated Press, raising the number of US military personal who have died since the war began in 2003 to at least 2,443. Memorial Day is an important day for our nation, for the families and friends of those who have died in our nation's service and it is only a small token of our appreciation for us to remember them.

Freeholder Bill Krebs, liaison to the county's Veterans Affairs Office, said, "I am deeply honored to work with our veterans throughout the year on many different projects. They put their heart into everything they do and they have put their hearts into preparing these Memorial Day events to honor those who did not make it home."

"We are all grateful for those who gave their lives for our freedom and Memorial Day is a way to keep their memory alive," stated Krebs.