By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
LONGPORT – The forecast of inclement weather predicted for Friday could put a damper on American Legion Post 469‘s plans to hold its annual Veterans Day service outdoors at Thomas B. Reed Park at the foot of the Longport bridge.
According to Post Commander Larry Pacentrilli, the post will make a decision Thursday morning on the possibility of moving its location, but the service will be held.
“Regardless of the final outcome for time and location, we will have the ceremony, followed by a get-together for all participants at Borough Hall immediately following the ceremony,” Pacentrilli said.
The final decision will be made Thursday morning, after discussing the forecast in consultation with Meteorologist Joe Martucci, Pacentrilli said.
“All possible consideration will be given to staying with the original plan of holding the ceremony in the park at 11 a.m. on Friday,” he said.
The current forecast is calling for rain to start Friday afternoon, but it could change, forcing the Legion to hold the service indoors at Borough Hall.
Pacentrilli said there is a possibility the service in the park could be moved up one hour, or it could be moved indoors.
“If we just can’t beat the weather, we’ll hold a modified ceremony inside Borough Hall in the Centennial Room on the second floor at 11 a.m.,” he said.
Pacentrilli said he will discuss the forecast with Martucci Thursday morning before announcing final plans.
The service normally includes the installation of brick pavers around the memorial sundial monument in the park that memorializes important dates in U.S. military history. Each brick int he walkway bears the name of a local veteran.
This year, the Legionnaires will honor the five members of the U.S. Coast Guard who lost their lives at sea while attempting a boat rescue during the storm of March 1932. The sole survivor of that tragedy was Lt. James Turner, who later settled in Longport and served as Longport Beach Patrol chief. He is known as “Capt. Turner,” and the Longport Beach Patrol holds a memorial swim in his honor every year.
The other five pavers will honor veterans nominated by borough residents.
The public is encouraged to attend this brief and meaningful service.