Ceremony in Beverly, to honor soldiers who never returned home
Posted: Sunday, May 24, 2015 5:30 pm | Updated: 10:59 am, Mon May 25, 2015.
BEVERLY — Three flags were raised over the river Sunday. First, there was the classic red, white and blue, and then the state flag of New Jersey. But the final flag was black.
It was the flag for prisoners of war and soldiers who went missing in action, and it said this: “You are not forgotten.”
Remembering the sacrifices of soldiers is the reason behind this holiday weekend. In Beverly, a small crowd gathered at Riverfront Park for a symbolic ceremony to commemorate those who had died.
“To those who have not returned, God bless you all,” said retired Technical Sgt. John Loftus, a Vietnam Air Force veteran.
After speeches from elected officials, including the mayors of Beverly and Edgewater Park, Boy Scouts from Troop 24 hoisted the three flags and Loftus, 74, of Edgewater Park, presented the ceremony of the white table.
“It is the table where no one will ever sit,” he said.
The table, clad in a pure white cloth, was covered with symbolic items, including a lemon for “the captive soldier’s bitter fate,” salt for a family’s tears, a white candle for peace and a red rose for hope that some day the missing soldier would return and sit in the empty chair.
Boy Scout Jayson Scott, 17, of Edgewater Park, said that participating in the ceremony made him feel “really proud, because I live in a country that’s free.”
“I get to help out (in honor of) a lot of people who served our country, who died for our country,” he said. “This is a really big honor, to even be a part of this.”
Fellow Scout Caidan Buckley, 12, of Beverly, said that Memorial Day for him was about “reverence” for “the soldiers that protect our country.”
The event took place at the Dunk’s Ferry Bicentennial Memorial, which commemorates the Revolutionary War. After the ceremony of the white table, officials placed a wreath in the Delaware River to honor George Washington’s Continental Navy.
A hush settled over the crowd; there were no sounds but the stirring of waves in the cobalt-blue Delaware River and the flapping of the three flags in the wind.
Members of Boy Scout Troop 24 raise the American Flag at the Dunk’s Ferry Bicentennial Memorial at Riverfront Park in Beverly on Sunday afternoon.
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