Shore Residents Invited to Welcome Wounded Warriors
Cheering crowds are expected to line up along two main thoroughfares in Jackson Township this weekend to welcome and honor Wounded Warriors. Jackson Township is hosting its fourth annual Wounded Warrior Parade and event at the Central Jersey Rifle and Pistol Club this Saturday and they're inviting the public from Jackson and surrounding communities to come out and cheer them on.
Jackson Mayor Mike Reina says starting at 9:30 a.m. the warriors will be escorted by a
motorized caravan of Police and other first responder agencies from the township Justice Complex down West Veterans Highway, all the way down to South StumpTavern Road to the Central Jersey Rifle and Pistol Club. "It's a motorized parade and they're be escorted by everything from antique cars to motorcycles. This year we're supposed to have two vintage airplanes fly over the Justice Complex before we leave.
Reina says the parade actually started as a simple request from the Pistol and Rifle Club to arrange for a simple police escort for the vets through town to their location on Stump Tavern Road. However, Reina says he was able to do one better and organized an impromptu parade in a matter of weeks.
According to Reina, "the Warriors, many of whom do not live here, are completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, not only from the residents of Jackson, surrounding towns, plus the businesses who sponsor us with all kinds of wonderful things, from coffee and donuts to cake, ice cream, meals, sandwiches. It's incredible what they've done and Central Jersey Rifle and Pistol Club sponsors the event."
He says following the parade, they'll have a day full of activities at the Pistol and Rifle Club. "We have food waiting for them. The range is open whether or not they want to go and have some shooting skeet or target practice. Anything that they want to do."
Reina says this year, they're giving special recognition to Vietnam Vets because the Wounded Warrior parade coincides with the celebration of 'Welcome Home Vietnam Veteran's Day'. He notes how the Vietnam War Vets have come out in force to support the parade anyway in year's past. "We have so many Vietnam Vets that come out and honor these young kids. They shake their hands and hug em. You can see the camaraderie, the fellowship, the brotherhood that only combat does to a person."
Reina says last year they had the most Wounded Warriors with 41 attending.
He adds "showing up will take only minutes out of our day but our show of support will last a lifetime for them." He encourages people attending to park their vehicles along the roads; this will allow them to line the travel route so the soldiers can see them.