Manchester students, faculty, staff honor Military Veterans in a special way on Thursday
The 18th annual Manchester Veterans Day Community Event took place on Thursday afternoon with many from within the Manchester School District, the community, and Veterans gathering together for this extraordinary event.
This event is something that meant and means a great deal to Veterans including LCDR John C Holzer, U.S. Navy (retired), who after 26 years of active duty retired and has been working for the last 5 years as the Senior Naval Science Instructor at Manchester High School.
"In Manchester Township and the surrounding areas here, we have a very good relationship with the community and the Base (JBMDL), this is a military town, and there are a lot of Veterans organizations that we work with here at the high school," Holzer tells Townsquare Media News. "There are three major holidays for the Military: Veterans Day, Armed Forces Day, and Memorial Day. Veteran's Day is one where we're recognizing people that served in any capacity, whether they did four years and transitioned out to the civilian world, or someone like me who did a whole career and retired -- it's a day to celebrate them and thank them for their service."
The event at Manchester High School is one that is enriched with tradition, pride, and thanks for our Veterans.
"We have the full support of our school community and our local community here. The staff, the administrators, the students in our program -- we have 100 students in the JR-ROTCC program here," Holzer said.
During the Thursday afternoon event, LCDR Holzer served as the MC, there was a Color Guard detail there, the Manchester Township High School Band and Choir performed the National Anthem, and the guest speaker for this event was ADC Glenn Kildare (U.S. Navy Chief - retired) who worked with the Blue Angels during his time in the service, and the band then came back to perform the Armed Forces Medley, which Holzer said is a "combination of the five service songs: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard."
When each song is played, Veterans from those respective branches were asked to stand.
"That song, for a lot of the folks who have served for their respective service, means a lot," Holzer said. "It's a very touching thing, and, a very nice thing for them."
There are some students from the band who performed Amazing Grace on the drums and bagpipes and Taps on the bugle.
While this special ceremony and event is a wondrous honor and occasion for our Veterans, there's more than is and can be done to show our appreciation and thanks for these men and women who served our country.
"In the five years that I've been here at Manchester, working Ocean County -- this is one of the most welcoming places I've been -- as far as recognition of Veterans, people seeing our students or us out in uniform at events saying 'thank you for what you do', people are very welcoming," Holzer said. "We're not necessarily looking for that, it's not something we go out and seek, but, offering without a prompting or hesitation or doubt to say 'we really appreciate what you do', because, especially with some of the older Veterans that are coming in and we still have some Korean War and some Vietnam War Veterans -- some of those guys were kind of forgotten, for lack of a better word, so, these events are big for them, that they see that they still have the support not only of the community but, the high school students. We talk about those things here, the history, and some of the struggles and some of the sacrifices those folks made."