by Pascual Flores
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs
5/29/2015 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- The
Joint Base community, alongside the Thomas B. McGuire Foundation and
New Jersey State Police, observed Memorial Day with the 33rd Annual
Parade of Wreaths May 21, 2015, at Tommy B's Community Activities Center
More than 300 service members representing all branches attended the ceremony honoring fallen warriors, both past and present.
This year's guest speaker, Judi Tapper, New Jersey Gold Star Mothers
president, gave unique insight into sacrifice and military loss.
"Yes, I am an American Gold Star Mother, today, tomorrow and always, I
will honor those who served, those serving, and above all, those who
made the ultimate sacrifice," said Tapper. "My prayer is that more
people will become aware of the cost of freedom and honor all who have
given so much to preserve it."
Tappers' son, Petty Officer 1st Class David Tapper, was a 13-year Navy
SEAL and was one of the SEALS who rescued Pvt. Jessica Lynch on April 1,
2003. He was killed in Afghanistan Aug. 20, 2003, during his third
"The secret to surviving grief is not how you face the day, or even how
you battle the emotions of grief, but in how you choose to spend it on
us," said Tapper. "We choose which (moments) to remember; there is
frustration, anger, confusion, sorrow, pain, loneliness and tears. But
most of all, we choose to remember the beautiful and wonderful memories
of that very special one."
More than 30 wreaths were presented as tribute to those who made the
ultimate sacrifice by military members, community groups and local law
"Today is special, we remember the fallen, the sacrifices given by those
that did what they could to help protect the security of our country,"
said Robert Maguire, Secretary of the Army's New Jersey Civilian Aide.
In keeping with the ceremony's spirit of remembrance, North Hanover
Upper Elementary School essay contest winners Gwen Quakenboss and
Kathryn Codiamat recited excerpts from their interpretation of "The Cost
"Memorial Day means different things to different people," said
Quakenboss. "On this Memorial Day, don't just remember America, but
America's heroes. Because no matter how high the cost of freedom may be,
these heroes will always be there to protect us."
"Freedom is something that should not be taken for granted, because
freedom is a gift given to us in return for the lives of many Soldiers,"
The Parade of Wreaths ceremony began in 1982 with the donation of a plaque for service members killed or missing in action.
"When our children go off to war, we as parents know in the back of our
minds the possibility of what can happen," said Tapper. "When it does
happen, we all share the same heartaches and we grieve in so many
different ways. We will not stop grieving, we will not stop caring and
we will not accept defeat. Until that day, I have chosen to put on his
boots, pick up his weapon and stay in the fight for our troops and for
the Gold Star Families knowing one day, we will be reunited."