Hundreds remembered on Vietnam War Veterans Day

Vietnam veteran Edward Saegers reads out the names of the young Vietnam soldiers killed in action buried at Glendale Cemetery while fellow Vietnam Veteran, Belleville American Legion Post 105 Commander Joe Cobianchi tolls a bell after each name is announced. March 29, 2023.

“They shall not grow old”…. the 261 young men who fought in Vietnam and are buried in the Veterans section of Glendale Cemetery were remembered Wednesday, March 29, Vietnam War Veterans Day. A total of 137 of the men died during the war and another 124 died within a few years after the war, most likely from war-related injuries or from exposure to Agent Orange.

The average age of those buried at the site who died during the war was 23, and those who died after the war 33. Each gravestone has been cleaned and marked with an American flag.

A large turnout paid respects on a somber but sunny day. As aged Vietnam veterans read aloud the names of their fallen young comrades, a bell was tolled, at this special event, hosted by the Belleville Historical Society.

Board of Education Trustee Tracy Williams sang the National Anthem, Father David from St. Peter’s Church, Belleville, offered prayers and blessed the graves. Commander Joe Cobianchi of American Legion Post 105 was keynote speaker. Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, a U.S. Navy veteran, was represented by her aide Willy Tolba. Bagpipe tunes were played by Belleville Firefighter Chase Hamilton and the service ended with Taps played by Stevens Institute of Technology Police Chief Timothy Griffin.

Joining in paying tribute at the event were members of Belleville American Legion Post 105, Sons of the American Legion Post 105, Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 366, Belleville-Nutley Disabled American Veterans chapter 22, Mayor Michael A. Melham, Councilman Steven Rovell, Councilman Vinnie Cozzarelli and Board of Education President Luis Munoz.

“Special acknowledgement for their support of our veterans goes to the Belleville-Nutley Key Club, the Nutley High School and Middle School Patriot Club, the Nutley FCA chapter and JD Vick, the Belleville High School Army ROTC unit, Bloomfield Girl Scout Troop 20340, and Bloomfield Boy Scout Troop 22,” Mike Perrone, president of the Belleville Historical Society, said. “The Belleville Historical Society thanks all who made this tribute to these young men possible.”

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.