Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

North Jersey Honors Veterans and Promises More Help Reflect and Renew

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

North Jersey Honors Veterans and Promises More Help Reflect and Renew

Article excerpt

The city of Paterson commemorated Veterans Day with a new monument and a renewal of a promise to help those who served after they return home from the battlefield.

A monument to the men and women who served in Afghanistan was dedicated during a ceremony at Veteran Memorial Park at Hayden Heights. And turning to the future, Mayor Joey Torres promised to build more housing to help Paterson's homeless veterans, part of a new refocus on the plight of servicemen and women being led by President Obama.

Soldiers young and old stood at attention as a gun volley crackled through the air and the black granite stone engraved with the years "2001-2014" was unveiled. Although there were no Afghanistan veterans at the ceremony, the stone with the inscription "Never forget our veterans" now takes its place beneath the World War I obelisk and is aligned with markers honoring those who served in other conflicts: World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq.

The ceremony came amid renewed emphasis at all levels of government on dealing with the problems faced by veterans. Obama has installed a corporate executive, Robert McDonald, to head the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs, and the federal government has mobilized its bureaucracies, notably the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to target programs to help veterans.

Tony Vancheri, president of the Paterson Veterans Council who presided as host to the ceremony, reminded the audience of the old Marine Corps pledge to "never leave a man behind on the battlefield. ... Today, we thank all veterans for their service, and we thank their families for their sacrifice."

Torres then took the podium and repeated a proposal that he first made in August to earmark $1 million in unused Paterson Housing Authority funds to build up to 38 units of housing for homeless veterans.

"It is time to thank living veterans for their service," Torres said, adding a pledge to end homelessness among Paterson vets "in 2015. …

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