FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: 1LT Vincent Solomeno, (732) 974-5966
Veterans honored at history luncheon
By 1st Lt. Amelia Thatcher, 444th MPAD
(Lt. Col. Tracey Phillips and Mr. Chuck Robbins, Veterans Outreach, DMAVA, present Mr. Benjamin Stewart with a resolution honoring his service and participation in the oral history program. )
Sea Girt – On Tuesday, January 29, 2013, the Manasquan Elks Lodge #2534 hosted the National Guard Militia Museum’s Oral History Luncheon, honoring 43 Garden State veterans who sat down and recorded their military experiences in 2012. The luncheon, held annually since 2001, was the first museum event since the facility sustained damage during Hurricane Sandy.
Lt. Col Tracey Phillips, Administrative Officer of the 254th Regiment, welcomed veteran participants, family members, museum volunteers, and professional staff. He stressed the importance of the program, a partner of the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project.
“Being able to capture these moments, to hear from the actual person, reflects that special story,” Phillips said. “This is a memory we want to preserve for generations to come.”
Carol Fowler, the museum’s assistant curator for oral histories, said that despite the hurricane destruction, the program had a “banner year.”
“We lost our records, including everyone’s addresses, which made organizing the luncheon itself a challenge,” she said “But it was a record year for interviews.”
Participants were presented with a joint resolution of the New Jersey State Senate and Assembly honoring them for their military service and thanking them for their participation in the oral history program.
Benjamin Stewart, a World War II veteran, attended the luncheon with his wife Mary. The Tinton Falls resident served 22 months as an Army sergeant in Europe and was happy to be recognized for his service. He said, “A lot of the fellows have now passed on. I am terrifically proud of the way soldiers conduct themselves these days.”
Presently, the National Guard Militia Museum at Sea Girt is closed for renovation. The museum’s artillery annex at Lawrenceville Armory remains open Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:00AM – 3:00PM. Those interested in participating in the oral history program are encouraged to contact Mrs. Fowler at (732) 974-5966 or visit www.nj.gov/military/museum/.