The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Foundation will hold its annual POW/MIA Gold Star Mothers Recognition Day Ceremony on Friday, Sept. 18 at 11 a.m. at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial on the grounds of the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J. The ceremony will honor America’s prisoners of war and those missing in action, those returned and those still unaccounted for from our nation’s wars.
The Gold Star Mothers provide support to American mothers who have lost children in the line of duty of the United States Armed Forces. They focus on providing emotional support to their members, volunteering with Veterans and Veterans’ hospitals, and fostering patriotism and respect for Servicemembers. National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed this year on September 18 and Gold Star Mothers Day is the last Sunday of September.
Speakers for the ceremony are Ken and Helen Gurbisz, who lost their son Jim in 2005. Jim was a captain in the United States Army and was serving a tour overseas in Iraq. The couple has been extremely active in the Gold Star Mothers organization and has worked to erect a Gold Star Family Monument at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. The monument will be dedicated Sept. 29.
“People don’t realize what happens when you suddenly lose a family member,” said Ken. “It’s important for all groups to bring attention to this for those who have suffered this tremendous loss.”
The POW/MIA Gold Star Mothers Ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at the Memorial and is open to the public. Herb Worthington, a trustee of the foundation, will lead the ceremony and the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 12 color guard will participate. Chaplain Joe Formola will give the invocation and benediction. Wreaths will be laid at the memorial by various organizations.
Museum admission is free for all visitors on Sept. 18. The museum is located adjacent to the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial off the Garden State Parkway at exit 116 in Holmdel, N.J. The memorial is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is free to visit. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on the Memorial or Museum, please call (732) 335-0033 or visit www.njvvmf.org.
Stephanie Eichmeyer is a former journalist turned writer and public relations specialist. Her background includes non-profit work in health care and fundraising, as well as event planning, media and community relations and internal and external communications.