Monday, May 19, 2014
Atlantic County will honor the memories of its fallen military heroes on Friday, May 23 at 2 PM during the 30th annual Veterans Memorial Program to be held at the Atlantic County Veterans Cemetery located in the county park, Route 50, Estell Manor.
The program will feature the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Color Guard, the Atlantic County Corrections Officers’ Honor Guard; the Atlantic City Fire Department Sandpipers’ Pipes and Drums, a bugler and the presentation of the memorial wreath.
“This ceremony is a time-honored tradition in Atlantic County and yet another way in which we acknowledge the supreme sacrifice and service of these courageous men and women who proudly served to ensure our freedom,” stated Dennis Levinson, Atlantic County Executive.
Former U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Noel Koch, a Vietnam veteran, will deliver the keynote address. In this position in the Office of Wounded Care and Transition Policy, Koch was responsible for the oversight and implementation of several programs intended to aid in the transition of wounded, ill or injured warriors from active duty to veteran’s status. He regularly visited military treatment facilities across the globe to assess care and to learn first-hand of the needs and concerns of those dealing with battle-related difficulties.
Koch held several positions in the Department of Defense and also served as a Special Assistant in the White House. He is considered an expert on terrorism and security-related issues with more than 45 years experience in developing intelligence and assessing threats. He served as President and CEO of TransSecur, a global security corporation that had offices in the U.S., the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Koch earned a B.A. from Widener University and his M.A. from Bryn Mawr College. He currently resides in Cape May County and remains a strong veterans’ advocate.
In preparation for Friday’s ceremony, several local boy scout and girl scout troops will place American flags at the more than 4,100 gravesites located within the veterans cemetery on Wednesday, May 21 (rain date: Thursday, May 22). Scouts who perform this task are eligible to receive the Atlantic County Patriotism patch in recognition of their service to veterans.
The Atlantic County Veterans Cemetery was officially dedicated in May, 1985 to provide a final resting place for military veterans and their spouses. The county recently cleared a one-acre plot adjacent to the existing cemetery to accommodate an additional 650 plots with more property set aside for future expansion.