Camden City Officials Honor Those Camden Residents Who Have Served
November 12, 2018
The City of Camden honored its veterans Monday with a ceremony that both city officials and veterans hope will be the beginning of a tradition every Veterans Day.
Camden Mayor Frank Moran was joined by U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, Camden City Director of Human Services Carmen Rodriguez, members of the Camden American Legion Post 473 and the newly formed City of Camden Veterans Commission to honor those who served in the U.S. armed forces for the first time in Roosevelt Plaza.
Moran said that honoring the city’s veterans was one of his priorities when he took office in January.
“We’re here gathered today because you served, and we are a mighty city because you served,” Moran said to the veterans in Monday’s audience.
“Celebrating here in the city is very special, it’s our home and not something that has always been done,” Norcross said. “I think it is important for our nation to understand what we as a county went through, some served in a time that there duties weren’t exactly understood.”
American Legion Post 473 Commander Pierre Robinson said Monday’s ceremony was the first time he remembered in his 23 years being involved with the city’s American Legion post that the city honored its veterans.
“This has been a long time coming with the city. They reached out to us, and we’re more than glad to be a part of this,” Robinson said, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1971 to 1975.
Camden resident Herbert Handy learned about the United States Marine Corps from his cousin, who served for 14 years. When his cousin was killed in Vietnam in 1968, Handy joined the Marines in January 1969, and fought in the jungle outside of Da Nang until he was honorably discharged in September 1970.
Handy said Monday that he usually spends Veterans Day in Atlantic City, but decided to attend the ceremony at city hall after hearing about it from his brother.
“It’s to honor my brothers and sisters that served, and died, to protect this here country,” Handy said about why he was in attendance.
Jose Bracero, commissioner of the city’s newly-formed veterans commission, called the ceremony “monumental.”
“The fact that we’re doing this — this hasn’t been done in this capacity before, and hopefully it’s ongoing,” said Bracero, who served in the U.S. Army for eight years and completed tours in Iraq and Kosovo. “I’m from the City of Camden, and ever since I got out of active duty in 2010, I don’t recall the city ever doing anything for veterans.”