PHOTO: Post Commander Peter Doyle carries flags to gravesites at Bay View Cemetery.
MIDDLETOWN, NJ - Members and friends of the C. Eugene Allen American Legion Post 141 of Atlantic Highlands placed 363 flags on veterans’ graves at Bay View Cemetery this week, honoring deceased military from battles dating back to the Indian Wars of the 19th century.
Post Commander Peter Doyle, a former Army officer and a graduate of West Point Military Academy, led the contingent who paid homage to the deceased military along with Army officer and former Mayor Fred Rast, Paul Cavise, both members of Post 141, Jane Frotton, widow of Past Post Commander Bernard Frotton and Jocelyn Velaquez, Frotton’s granddaughter. Past Commander Frotton, a veteran of the Korean War, led the group who placed the flags in anticipation of Memorial Day each year until Doyle took over the position 12 years ago.
“Moody’s Investors Service, where I am employed, encourages volunteerism in our neighborhood, giving back to our communities, “ said Doyle. “As part of this program employees devote their personal time and energy to help wherever they feel they can do the most good within their own community. I choose to help our Post #141. As a post member, and Commander, I have organized fellow legion members and other volunteers to place flags and remembrances at veterans’ graves for several years, a tradition, I believe, most Legion and Veterans of Foreign War posts follow as well. Our Post has done the honors at Bay View Cemetery since 1970 and I feel honored to be a part of it.” Doyle added that “as we gathered at Bay View to honor the dead, I took some time to walk among the graves, and considered the lives of those veterans before, during and after their struggles during times of armed conflict. It is a humbling experience. Each life matters.”
The post commander said that Bay View Cemetery is honored “by all who have served and are laid to their final resting place there, but further honored that Fred S. Hay is among that group. Hay is a Medal of Honor recipient from the Indian Wars, and his tombstone is located at the entrance of the cemetery.”
Doyle also noted that Atlantic Highlands had 14 warriors who died in combat, and while none is buried in Bay View, “all of them are especially remembered at this time we set aside to honor those we admire, give thanks, and appreciate.”
The 14 military members from the borough who lost their lives on active duty include John Joy, Jon Pape, John Daly, James Latta, Paul Brunig, James Brady, David, Bashaw, Bruce Cowden, Corbal Mosely, John Gallagher, Edward Johnson, Edward Finnegan, Ralph Ricciardelli and William McLaughlin.
The flags are provided by the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders through the Offices on Aging and Veterans Services.