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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 10, 2015

Contact: Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Bob Considine (609) 292-2994
Caryn Shinske (609) 984-1795

MILITARY SERVICE TO BE REMEMBERED WITH SOLDIERS’ CHRISTMAS
LANTERN TOUR AT FORT MOTT STATE PARK THIS SATURDAY EVENING

WREATH-LAYING AT NEARBY FINN’S POINT NATIONAL CEMETERY PART OF
NATIONAL WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA COMMEMORATION

(15/114) TRENTON – The New Jersey State Park Service will honor military veterans and those who died in the nation’s wars with a Soldiers’ Christmas lantern-guided tour at Fort Mott State Park this Saturday evening. Earlier in the day, a Wreaths Across America ceremony will be held at nearby Finn’s Point National Cemetery.

imageThese events are being held to remind and inform the public about the sacrifices the military makes to keep the country safe.

“The Department of Environmental Protection and the State Park Service are proud to be part of this national commemoration,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin.  “These events remind us that our military has and always will remain vigilant in defending our freedom, even if it means enduring the hardship of being away from their families during that most cherished time of year – the holiday season.”
 
Located in Pennsville, Salem County, Fort Mott State Park and Finn’s Point National Cemetery have long held unique military significance for the state.  

The Soldiers’ Christmas lantern-guided tours begin at the Fort Mott museum at 5 p.m., with the last tour leaving at 9 p.m. Visitors will learn about military memorabilia at the museum before heading out on tours lasting 45 minutes to an hour. The tour program will feature presentations about military battles over the centuries and is sponsored by the 9th Division WWII Historical Preservation Society.

“These interactive and informative tours offer glimpses into how soldiers lived along the front lines during different war eras, including World War II’s Battle of the Bulge, which raged across France, Belgium and Luxembourg during the Christmas season of 1944,” said Andy Grant, Resource Interpretive Specialist of Historic Resources for the New Jersey State Park’s Service, and Fort Mott historian.

The Finn’s Point wreath-laying ceremony and dedication – part of the nationwide Wreaths Across America commemoration – will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  It is one of some 800 wreath-laying ceremonies taking place across the nation on Saturday.

The Finn’s Point wreath-laying ceremony is sponsored locally by Salem County’s Oak Tree Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and will involve placing wreaths on more than 650 graves.

Finn’s Point National Cemetery serves as the final resting place for some 2,500 Confederate soldiers who died while prisoners at Fort Delaware, located on an island across from Fort Mott, as well as 135 Union soldiers who died while stationed at the prison. The cemetery also contains interments of veterans from later wars, including World War II.

Fort Mott was part of a 19th century three-fort coastal defense system, evolving after the Civil War to defend the Delaware River and Philadelphia. It expanded with the approach of the Spanish-American War, but became obsolete after World War I with the construction of a fort farther south in Delaware.

These are a rain or shine events, with visitors encouraged to dress warmly and if possible, bring flashlights for the lantern tour. Parking is free and shuttle buses will take visitors to the museum.

For information and driving directions visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/fortmott.html  or www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/finnspoint.asp

For more information on Wreaths Across America, visit: www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/

For other seasonal events taking place at New Jersey state parks, visit:
http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/
or the Park Service Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/NewJerseyStateParks

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Last Updated: December 3, 2015