Monday, May 16, 2016
Atlantic County will honor the memories of its fallen military heroes on Friday, May 27 at 2 PM during the 32nd annual Veterans Memorial Program to be held at the Atlantic County Veterans Cemetery located in the county park, Route 50, Estell Manor.
“It is our honor to begin each Memorial Day weekend with this special tribute to our military heroes, many of whom lost their lives while fighting to preserve our freedoms,” said County Executive Dennis Levinson. “It is important that we never lose sight of the reason for this holiday and that we continue to honor the memories of our fallen veterans.”
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 year’s keynote address will be presented by Jeffrey L. Pierson, Sr., Brigadier General (Retired), US Army of Marmora, NJ. General Pierson retired in 2003 with more than 42 years of military service. His last assignment was as Assistant Adjutant General - Army, Head- quarters, Fort Dix, New Jersey. His military career also included assignments as Chief of Staff, NJ State Area Command Headquarters; Director, Military Personnel; Mobilization and Readiness Officer; and Executive Officer, 50th Armored Division Artillery.
General Pierson was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant from the NJ Military Academy while a senior at Wildwood High School. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from Roger Williams University and a Master’s Administrative Science Degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
He has received military and civilian awards, decorations and honors such as the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, among many others.
In preparation for the May 27 ceremony, several local scout troops will place American flags at the more than 4,400 gravesites located within the veterans cemetery on Wednesday, May 25 (rain date: Thursday, May 26). 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 cemetery was expanded in 2014 to accommodate an additional 650 plots with more property set aside for future expansion.
Atlantic County is also paying tribute to its veterans with the creation of the Atlantic County Veterans Museum in the historic Daniel Estell Manor House that was built in 1832 and was placed in the National Historic Registry in 1991. It is located on Rt. 50 in Estell Manor adjacent to the county park and veterans cemetery. The county purchased the property in 1993 and is nearing completion of necessary renovations to bring the building up to code and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.