Honoring Morris County's Heroes: 28 Veterans Receive Distinguished Military Service Medals
Morristown, NJ – Morris County recently celebrated Veterans Day 2023 by honoring 28 local veterans with the Distinguished Military Service Medal. The Morris County Board of County Commissioners conducted two observance ceremonies on November 8 and 9, recognizing these veterans, who were joined by their families and friends.
The ceremonies were not just a local affair but also included accolades from state and federal authorities. State Sen. Anthony Bucco and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (Morris-25), along with representatives from U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill's Office, played pivotal roles in these events. Citations of commendations and praise were also issued by State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (Morris-26) and U.S. Rep. Tom Kean.
A unique twist to this year's events was the dual honor bestowed upon Parsippany Council President Loretta Gragnani and Vice President Michael dePierro. Both were recognized not only for their veteran service but also for their extensive public service in Morris County. Gragnani has been a steadfast figure in Parsippany, serving on the Township Council and Board of Adjustments. DePierro, noted for over four decades of service on the Parsippany Council, has the distinction of being the longest-serving active elected official in Morris County.
The evening's highlight was the presentation of the Distinguished Military Service Medals by Commissioner Director John Krickus, himself a proud Marine Corps veteran. His words resonated with a deep respect for veterans, emphasizing the distinction between the warrior and the war, and advocating for unwavering respect towards those who have served.
Additionally, the ceremonies coincided with the 248th birthday of the United States Marine Corps and the inauguration of a new veterans' service space in Morris Township. This expansion, celebrated with a ribbon-cutting at the Morris County Veterans Services Office, is set to enhance support for veterans and their families significantly.
Commissioner Stephen Shaw shared a personal story about discovering his father’s military service posthumously, highlighting the importance of recognizing and understanding the sacrifices made by veterans. Shaw also drew attention to the Morris County Office of Planning and Preservation’s efforts in documenting local veterans' history, inviting participation in the upcoming Veterans Compendium project.
Morris County's commitment to its veterans remains steadfast, honoring their service and ensuring their stories and sacrifices are not forgotten.