Parade of Wreaths commemorates fallen heroes

By Staff Sgt. Lauren Russell | Joint Base MDL Public Affairs | May 24, 2018


Members of the Joint Base MDL community and the Maj. Thomas B. McGuire Foundation hosted the 36th Annual Parade of Wreaths ceremony here, May 24.


More than 300 service members, civic leaders and New Jersey State Troopers gathered at the base of the Maj. Thomas B. McGuire Memorial Circle to honor the men and women of law enforcement and the armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice


“A loss for one of us is a loss for all of us,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Henderson, 621st Contingency Response Wing commander. “It’s only right that we come together and celebrate their lives as a family.”


Traditionally, the ceremony is held after National Police Week and just before Memorial Day and includes a wreath laying, where representatives from each branch of service and local  law enforcement and community groups present a wreath in memory of lives lost in the name of justice, freedom and peace.  


“It’s no secret that a lot of our troopers have or are currently serving [in the armed forces],” said New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan, guest speaker for the event. “They’re on our roads, they’re in our towns, but these men and women serve beyond state lines.”


Amongst the crowd was former U.S. Army Sgt. Arthur Goldschmidt, who was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his heroic actions during World War II. Following the guest speaker’s remarks, approximately 50 uniformed Troopers lined up to individually meet Goldschmidt and thank him for his service.


North Hanover Upper Elementary School fifth and sixth grade students Ryan Hutchinson and Madison Wick respectively, concluded the ceremony with their winning essays on what Memorial Day means to them, emphasizing the importance of using the time to remember fallen service members.


“For some, it’s just a day off, but those that have had to put a loved one in the ground, it’s a very different story,” said Wick. “However, death does not kill memories, and those memories are the building blocks of Memorial Day.”