Remembering the Heroes: NNJ Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Since I was a kid, I liked going to the cemetery. I know it may sound strange. I grew up in a big Italian family and, unfortunately, as each family member passed, they would go to the cemetery. Once I was old enough to go a little further away from home on my bike, I would ride to the cemetery on weekends when it was nice. I would sit on the ground, clean the headstones of my loved ones and talk to them. When I was able to drive, I went more often.

Now that I live almost an hour away from Glendale Cemetery in Bloomfield, I don’t get there as often as I would like, but I am still fascinated by cemeteries. They hold not just our loved ones, but the history of our country.

nnjvmc-logoEnter the Northern New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

If there is one group of individuals who should always receive our respect and care, it is our nation’s veterans. And those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us deserve our highest level of respect. The Northern New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery’s focus is to make sure vets receive a respectful resting place in Northern New Jersey nearby their families.

It took a long time, lots of planning, and plenty of effort to get this cemetery in place. It is the only veteran’s cemetery that is privately owned and receives no funding from the State or the Federal governments. It relies on their small burial costs and donations to stay in place and available for vets and their families in Northern New Jersey.

This cemetery is the brainchild of John Harrigan, president of Wallkill Valley Chapter 1002 in Vernon, New Jersey. He took on the mission of creating this cemetery and enlisted the help of the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, VFW organizations, Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America, Sussex County, and services from individuals like Attorney Kevin Kelly, and businesses and organizations Mark DeVenezia of Mulch Concepts, Gardell Land Surveying, Pompton Lakes Elks Lodge 1895, and from the Sussex County Technical School. Local veterans’ organizations also have supported the effort.

The New Jersey State Legislature has approved the addition of the cemetery non-profit on the state income tax check-off list.

Now add my partner-in-crime Lisaann.

She is an amazing individual – a breast cancer survivor, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Chinkchewunska Chapter; the National Society Daughter of the Union 1861-1865, and the cemetery’s Administrator and she can trace her blood line to many veterans who fought during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. It wasn’t until she attended a good friend’s Father’s Military Funeral at the Veterans Cemetery in Goshen NY, that she decided she wanted to be part of the mission of the new cemetery in Sussex County. She takes her position seriously and does all she can to make sure the vets who are buried at the cemetery receive the care and respect they deserve.

They do fundraisers periodically, but rely heavily on donations from individuals. This iscemetery-enterance an important place in New Jersey for vets and their families. If you are able, I hope you will consider making a donation to this important location in New Jersey.

If you are interested in planning a service at the Northern New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery, please reach out. I am sure Lisaann and John will help you plan a service fitting of a vet!

Photos Around New Jersey

Just wanted to share some photos I have taken from around the great state of New Jersey! I hope you enjoy and check out some of these great areas.

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Just a few more reasons to love New Jersey!

Independence Day Weekend Events in New Jersey

While most people in the tri-state area think the Macy’s fireworks are the hot ticket for the Independence Day weekend, we in Jersey know better! Here are some great ideas to enjoy the long holiday weekend.

Jersey City will host the “Freedom and Fireworks Festival” on Friday. Events will take place at Liberty State Park and will include a visit by the Budweiser Clydesdales and Bud Beer Gardens. Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro, is also creating a special Fourth of July cake for the Jersey City Freedom & Fireworks Festival. Country music star Craig Morgan and Kristen Redmond will perform. The live music begins at 5:30 p.m. Of course the day will conclude with an awesome fireworks display!

The battle at the Princeton Battlefield State Park on Jan. 3, 1777 is considered to be the fiercest fight during the American Revolution. General George Washington led his troops to this otherwise peaceful winter field and defeated a force of British Regulars, giving Washington his first victory against the British Regulars on the battlefield. The park is open Friday, July 4 — 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and admission is free. There will be period games will be available for children of all ages. A talk on the Battle of Princeton will be given at noon and a reading of the Declaration of Independence will happen at 1 p.m.

Washington’s Headquarters in Morristown, is the site of the 1779-80 winter encampment of the Continental Army under General Washington. It will be open to the public Friday, July 4 — 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and events will be held on the Morristown Green. Music and entertainment will be provided by The Four Old Parts and Wire Harp. At noon, the Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Tom Ross, superintendent of Morristown National Historical Park, followed by a NJ 350th Proclamation read by Morris County Freeholder Director Thomas Mastrangelo. A musket firing by the 2nd New Jersey Regiment and singing of “Happy Birthday New Jersey” will happen at 12:45 p.m. At 1:30 p.m., free tours of the Presbyterian Church and graveyard. The day will end with a Fort Nonsense ribbon cutting with Eileen Cameron, president of the Washington Association of New Jersey, and Mayor Timothy Dougherty, at 2 p.m.

In 1776, the third reading of the Declaration of Independence took place in New Brunswick.  Come celebrate the 4th of July with a re-enactment.  Learn about the history of the reading, tour the Historic Christ Church Cemetery at 5 Paterson Street.  Sing along with patriotic songs of the era and hear American music performed on a traditional pipe organ.  Free admission and complimentary refreshments.

Garden State Fireworks will launch an electrifying palette of pyrotechnics at Bayonne’s annual fireworks show on Tuesday (rain date Wednesday, July 2) at 9:15 p.m. In conjunction with the inauguration of Bayonne mayor-elect Jimmy Davis that day, there will be live entertainment from multiple bands beginning at 4 p.m. at G. Thomas DiDomenico 16th Street Park, giving way to fireworks. For information call 201-471-7590 or visit www.bayonnerec.com.

The State Fair Meadowlands, in East Rutherford, will stage its firework display on July 3 and July 4 at 11 p.m. The State Fair is the largest fair in the area, with more than 50 vendors, rides, racing pigs, a juggling show, an acrobatic motocross show, live performances and more. The fair will be open on July 3 from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. and July 4 from 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. Entrance to the fair is $8 and $10. All active military personnel, with proper military ID are being offered free admission to the fair and an unlimited ride hand stamp from June 20 to July 6. The unlimited ride hand stamp is not available on June 20. The fair includes performances by Larry Chance and the Earls, The Rip Chords, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Heffron Drive.

Montclair will host its 64th annual Independence Day Celebration promising attendees a host of live musical performances, parade and fireworks display. The parade, which begins at 11 a.m., will comprise of various organizations and marching bands. The parade will travel west on Bloomfield Avenue to Midland Avenue, heading to Valley Road and ending at Edgemont Park for a July 4th Family Picnic. The family picnic, from noon to 3 p.m., will include the Joe Fischer magic show, pony rides, face painting, spin art, sand art, tattoos and balloon art. In addition local bands, Black Lace Blues and Jason Didner & the Jungle Gym Jam, will provide live music. The Montclair fireworks display will take place at Yogi Berra Stadium on Montclair State University campus. The stadium admission is $3 per person or $10 per family with no charge for children ages 5 and under. Gates open at 7 p.m. and free parking will be available at parking decks surrounding the stadium.

The city of Camden has plenty of events scheduled for their second annual Camden Waterfront Freedom Festival. The Camden Waterfront Freedom Festival features the region’s largest fireworks display, live music, military displays and demonstrations,  amusements, contests, food concessions. The Freedom Festival Beer Garden will be open during regular festival hours from July 3-5, featuring local New Jersey beer. The festival will kick off on Thursday, July 3 with the pre-celebration for 102.9 FM WMGK’s 13th Annual Let Freedom Rock Fest. The festival will feature family-focused attractions, games and amusements, and a performance by WMGK’s former house band, the Sofa Kings. All events will lead up to the 6 p.m. concert at Live Nation’s Susquehanna Bank Center featuring Foreigner, Styx and former Eagles guitarist Don Felder. The festivities continue Friday, July 4, with live bands, military vehicles and armed forces displays visiting the Camden Waterfront with patriotic music and activities from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The Adventure Aquarium Waterfront Fireworks Celebration features the region’s largest fireworks display and takes place Saturday night, July 5, after the Camden County Freedom Concert beginning at 3 p.m. The festival will come to a close Sunday, July 6, with special discounts for active military and veterans and their families at both Adventure Aquarium and the Battleship New Jersey Memorial & Museum.

Monroe Township will be holding it’s annual 4th of July fireworks show at Williamstown High School Friday on July 4, complete with food vendors, a balloon artisan and skydivers. The festivities begin at 7 p.m. and fireworks start at 9 p.m.

Washington Township will hold its annual 4th of July celebration Thursday, July 3 at the Washington Lake Park Amphitheater.  Beginning at 7 p.m., the event will start with a flag raising and recognition of veterans. Immediately following will be a performance of patriotic songs by resident Michael Jones and a concert by Touché.  A fireworks show will held at 9:15 p.m. and will shoot off from the amphitheater. Attendees can view from the lawn or elsewhere in the park. The fireworks will be shot to medley of patriotic music. Officials suggest brining bug spray and folding chairs. Food will be available.

A Fourth of July celebration featuring a Spirit of Americana Bake-Off competition and a “Most Patriotic Canine” costume contest will take place 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Footbridge Park, 79 West Crisman Road (Route 94) in Blairstown.

The 11th annual traditional reading of the Declaration of Independence will take place from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Ringwood Manor, Sloatsburg Road in Ringwood Manor State Park. $5 parking.

A concert of patriotic favorites will be performed by the West Morris Community Concert Band 7 p.m. Sunday at Gardner Field on Route 46 and Savage Road in Denville. Fireworks will follow at dusk. Call (973) 625-8300.

Did a miss an event in your area? Make sure to post it in the comments below!

Eunice Wade Beardslee and the American Revolution

DAR-logoI have always loved American history, but more importantly, I love New Jersey history! If you want to experience a truly unique event that combines New Jersey history and Revolutionary War history, you should go to the “real daughter” dedication happening tomorrow in Sussex County. What is a “real daughter” you ask? Let me explain.

Eunice Wade Beardslee is a Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Real Daughter. This means she is a daughter of a Revolutionary War Veteran AND she was a member of a DAR Chapter. This is considered a “once in a lifetime” event according to many DAR members.

The dedication ceremony is taking place tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 32 Main Street in Sparta. There will NEVER be another Real Daughter Ceremony in Sussex County.

If you are looking for something unique to do on what should be a lovely spring day, try to attend this event, which will honor Eunice and support local NSDAR Chinkchewunska Chapter.

Lafayette Added to the National Register of Historic Places

Paulinskill River

The Paulinskill River in Lafayette, NJ.

One of my favorite places in North Jersey is Lafayette. The Township was named in honor of the distinguished patriot, the Marquis de Lafayette, on the occasion of his triumphal return to America in 1824. Lafayette Township has the distinction of being the first town, city or township in the nation to be named after the General. The Lenni-Lenape Indians populated the area until 1716. There are plenty of wonderful historic buildings and an amazing cemetery that I visit often. Built on the banks of the Paulinskill River, Henry Bail, a German and a squatter, built a grist mill on the Paulinskill in 1750.

After multiple attempts, Lafayette Village’s historic district recently being placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. If you are looking for a great way to spend this lovely day is to visit Lafayette and enjoy special events taking place throughout the area. The Township is celebrating with a street fair and open house at the newly restored Ludlum-Mabee House today, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The restoration of the Ludlum-Mabee House, formerly the municipal building on Route 15, has been a long-term museum project of the Lafayette Center Preservation Foundation, a local non-profit group dedicated to the preservation of Lafayette’s historic legacy.

The historic district of Lafayette Village — not to be confused with the Olde Lafayette Village shopping area — consists of 60 buildings, six sites, 13 structures and two objects that spread along and around about a half-mile of Route 15, according to the application the Lafayette Center Preservation Foundation submitted to the National Register of Historic Places. The application was prepared by Eclectic Architecture. Consisting of a flat area of land on the north bank of the Paulinskill River, the district includes 41.5 acres and extends about 1,400 feet east and west along Route 15, from the crossroads intersection of the state highway and Meadows Road.

At the Lafayette Mill, a favorite place of mine, 20 vendors will join the 55 regular dealers for a flea market. Fuzzy Nation, a specialty boutique located in the old vaudeville theater, will host a pet adoption day, benefiting the Wantage Animal Shelter, Father John’s Animal House and One Stop Closer Animal Rescue. A pet beauty contest and gourmet dog-food tasting will be presented by Pawsitively Living, also a local Lafayette business. A specialty painting seminar will be given by Sweet Pea’s, teaching participants how to restate and repurpose antique and vintage furniture pieces. A wine-tasting, hosted by Cava Winery, will be held at Applewood Antiques in the afternoon.

Other activities along Route 15 in Lafayette include an outdoor exhibit of painted home and garden furniture at Rose Petal Porch and a special sidewalk sale by The Chocolate Goat. At Twice Treasured, visitors will find face-painting, wire-wrap artistry, a brewery exhibit by Angry Erik Brewery, crepes and baked treats by the Cupcake Café, and a sidewalk sale by Jo’s Junk. Many other surrounding businesses will be participating in the day’s festivities. The closing act at 4 p.m. will be a classic rock concert by Denise Kyles and Voodoo Child.

This is an exciting time for Lafayette. I hope you take the time and check it out!

Governor Joseph Bloomfield and the Continental Army

Special thanks to Lisaann VanBlarcom Permunian (who is an awesome NJ historical photographer) and member of the Chinkchewunska Chapter NSDAR.

Future New Jersey Governor Joseph Bloomfield becomes captain of the third New Jersey Regiment of Foot in the Continental Army on this day in 1776.

Bloomfield was born in 1753 in Woodbridge, New Jersey; he was the son of a physician, Moses Bloomfield. He was educated in Deerfield, New Jersey, at Reverend Enoch Green’s school and studied law before his admittance to the bar in 1775. He briefly practiced his profession in Bridgeton, New Jersey, before joining the Patriot cause.

After serving honorably as captain and then major of the third battalion, Bloomfield resigned his military post on October 29, 1778, to accept the elected position of clerk for the New Jersey Assembly. He also served as New Jersey’s attorney general from 1783 to 1792. He briefly returned to military service in 1794 to lead the United States Army’s efforts to quash the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania. Upon his return, he became the mayor of Burlington from 1795 to 1800. Bloomfield also served as president of the first Society for the Abolition of Slavery, which originated in Burlington in 1783, and trustee of Princeton University from 1773 until 1801, when he resigned to become the fourth governor of New Jersey.

Bloomfield remained governor until 1812, when he resigned to become brigadier general of the United States Army at the onset of the War of 1812. Following this third stint in military service, he represented New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1817 to 1821. Upon his death in 1823, Bloomfield was buried at Old Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church in Burlington, joining fellow New Jersey Patriot and anti-slavery activist, Elias Boudinot. In recognition of his accomplishments and sacrifice to the state, the city of Bloomfield, New Jersey, was incorporated in his name in 1812.

Applications for the 5th Annual Coldwater Conservation School Available Now

NJ Fish and WildlifeThe NJ School of Conservation in Sussex County will again be the host site for an exciting Coldwater Conservation School being offered by the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife and the NJ State Council of Trout Unlimited and its supporting chapters. The School will be held June 26 – June 29, 2014 and is open to youths who will be between the ages of 11 and 14 at the time of the program.

The goal of the School is to foster a knowledge and appreciation of trout and the coldwater habitats on which they depend. Understanding all of the elements necessary for healthy streams and good trout habitat helps students realize the importance of stream and water quality protection, and roles they can play in stream conservation.

Division of Fish and Wildlife biologists and instructors from Trout Unlimited will teach sessions about stream ecology, fish habitat, fish biology and identification, aquatic insect identification, fly tying, fly-casting, and stream restoration. There will also be evening programs where students will learn about reptiles and New Jersey’s black bears.

The cost of the Coldwater Conservation School is only $275.00, which includes food, lodging and equipment for the entire 4 days and 3 nights.

Applications are due no later than April 1, 2014. Students accepted into the School will be notified by the end of April. Last year’s School was very successful with more than 30 participants, so be sure to get your applications in on time!

Information about the Coldwater Conservation School including the official application can be found at: http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/conservation_school.htm.

Information about Trout Unlimited can be found at: http://www.njtu.org/ and the NJ School of Conservation at http://csam.montclair.edu/njsoc/.

Questions about the School should be directed to Jessica Griglak at 908-637-4125 x 112 or jessica.griglak@dep.state.nj.us.