An ornamental key – the "Key to the City" – is presented to esteemed visitors, residents, or others whom the city wishes to honor. This practice is a variation on the "Freedom of the City" tradition, and has a similar symbolic meaning; evoking medieval walled cities, the gates of which would be guarded during the day and locked at night, the key symbolizes the freedom of the recipient to enter and leave the city at will, as a trusted friend of city residents.
Today the "Freedom of the City" KEY is an honor bestowed by a municipality upon a valued member of the community, or upon a visiting celebrity or dignitary, AN IMPORTANT DIPLOMAT.
Cities give their keys to prominent locals, worthy individuals and organizations.
Somerset County Freeholder
We Salute Three of Somerset County's Finest.
STEADY FRIENDS - Always Present for
New Jersey's Veterans -
their many causes - initiatives - needs...
Officials attending including NJ State Senator Kip Bateman, Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caliguire, Somerset County Director of Veteran Services Peter Niemiec, Superintendent of Montgomery Twp. Schools Nancy Gartenberg, Mayor Ed Trzaska, Township Committee member Patricia Graham, Planning Board Chairman David Cheskis, former Mayor Don Matthews (MVMC), Former Administrator Pete Rayner (MVMC). Also in attendance were Richard Onderko, Mayor of Manville, and Andrea Bierwirth, Manville Administrator..
Photo my Cliff Moore Montgomery News
Reading of the Resolution
The opening invocation was given by Pastor Anthony GodLefski,
Montgomery United Methodist Church.
SC Director of Veteran Services
Brigadier General Michael L. Cunniff, Adjutant General of the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard, gave the keynote speech and also presented NJ Medals of Distinguished Service awarded posthumously, for two Purple Heart recipients from Montgomery.
Rolling Thunder National V.P. Tom D’Alessio spoke and was accompanied by Rolling Thunder Board of Director member Gus Dante.
Rolling Thunder, Inc. is committed to helping veterans of all American wars and particularly raises awareness of the issue of Prisoners of War (POWs) and those Missing in Action (MIAs)...
Montgomery Township's namesake - General Richard Montgomery - Killed in Action 12.31.1775 - was remembered as were All 8 of those Killed-in-Action from Montgomery Township:
John A Cray - KIA Civil War
James Cray - KIA Civil War
Arthur S Dixon - KIA WWI
Charles Rospopa - KIA WWII
George L Brown - KIA WWII
Michael Malko - KIA WWII
SP4 Stephen H Warner - KIA Vietnam War
LT. Ashley Henderson-Huff - KIA Operation Iraqi Freedom
THE THREE GO TOGETHER..
Lea Kahn, Princeton Packet
The presentation of the colors and pledge of allegiance was led by
Boy Scouts from Troop 46.
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR VETERANS AND SERVICEMEMBERS
Photo by Cliff Moore Montgomery News
MEANT AS A REMINDER -
THIS SMALL KEY
THIS EXPERIENCE THIS EVENING -
GREAT THINGS AHEAD -
LARGE THINGS AHEAD...
A moment of silence was observed in the memory of these brave soldiers and ‘Taps’ was played by Montgomery High School Marching Band bugler Mati Ng.
Accepting the Purple Heart plaques on behalf of 1st Lt. Huff’s family, who now live in another state,
was Superintendent of Montgomery Twp. Schools Nancy Gartenberg.
Photo by Cliff Moore Montgomery News
Montgomery Veterans Memorial Committee Member Mike Maloney stated,
“As we celebrate our Purple Heart Community Status, we begin a new chapter in our Township’s history – our Township’s life-story.
With our new status, and within that new chapter – comes a renewed responsibility – collectively, individually. As we celebrate –
we must always honor and remember those who have provided the very ink to write life-stories in the first place.”
New Jersey State Senator
Present and Accounted For
Montgomery Twp. School District representatives.
Pictured from left to right are Scott Mason, President of the MTEA, Nancy Gartenberg, Superintendent of Montgomery Twp. Schools, and Rick Cavalli, President of the Board of Education..
A new street sign, designed by Rolling Thunder, was unveiled which will be placed along the entranceway to Montgomery High School, renaming it “1st Lt. Ashley Henderson-Huff Memorial Drive..
NOT A SMALL KEY IN THE RIGHT HANDS.
All in attendance received a token 'FREEDOM OF THE CITY' KEY.
KEY HOLDERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME IN MONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP NEW JERSEY.
KEY HOLDERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME AT MONTGOMERY VETERANS PARK.
Three faces That New Jersey Veterans And Veteran Organizations Can Always Count On Seeing...
Ted Dima, Military Order of the Purple Heart, presents a plaque marking Montgomery Twp.’s new status as a Purple Heart Town to (l to r): Twp. Clerk Donna Kukla, Mayor Ed Trzaska, and Administrator Donato Nieman..
“Tonight was a special night for Montgomery. I am proud to be part of our community for many reasons, and on top of the list is how we embrace, honor,
and recognize our veterans. God bless our veterans and those that earned the Purple Heart while protecting our freedom,” said Montgomery Mayor Ed Trzaska...
POW/MIA CHAIR OF HONOR
All were reminded - that of this evening, 82,476 service members are officially unaccounted for.
We honor and remember the presumed 82,476 Purple Heart medals - never to be seen or touched.
This event occurred on the 11th anniversary of Ashley Henderson-Huff’s death in Iraq. The United States military had previously awarded First Lt. Huff the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon. She was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and the Combat Action Badge..
"We gather under the watchful eye of our township's namesake, General Richard Montgomery..."
Photo my Cliff Moore Montgomery News
Montgomery Named a Purple Heart Town
Posted on September 21, 2017
Montgomery Township’s new designation as a “Purple Heart Township” was marked with a public ceremony at the Township building Tuesday, September 19th. This designation recognizes a township’s support for the sacrifice of military members of a community wounded or killed while serving the nation in a time of war.
Speakers presented before an overflowing courtroom. Representatives from the Military Order of the Purple Heart; Somerset County Veterans Services; Rolling Thunder, Inc., a national veterans support group; the Montgomery Township Veterans Memorial Committee; boy scouts and leaders, and many local dignitaries came out to honor veterans and Montgomery’s Purple Heart recipients in particular.
Special plaques were also presented by the Military Order of the Purple Heart to honor the memories of both Lt. Ashley Henderson-Huff, a military police officer, who was killed in Iraq in 2006, and SP4 Stephen H. Warner, a young war correspondent killed in action in Vietnam. Both of these brave soldiers hailed from Montgomery and attended Montgomery High School..
“Ashley and Stephen are a source of pride for our school community. They represent those characteristics important to as we strive to educate all of our students to be ethical and responsible citizens. We look forward to naming Lt. Ashley Henderson-Huff Drive this winter.” Nancy Gartenberg
Ted Dima, Senior Vice Commander Chapter 27 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart presented the Township with a plaque signifying its new status, shared by only nine towns in New Jersey. Montgomery Mayor Ed Trzaska, Administrator Donato Nieman, and Township Clerk Donna Kukla received the honor on behalf of Montgomery after Township Clerk Donna Kukla read a resolution of acceptance....
Frank & Nancy Tetz, long-time friends of the Warner Family, accepted the NJ Distinguished Service Medal for the family of SP4 Stephen H. Warner.
Brigadier General Cunniff presented the medal and plaque to the couple. Stephen grew up in Montgomery, attended Yale University, but was killed in action while serving as a war correspondent in the U.S. Army’s 7th Public Information Detachment in Vietnam when his unit was ambushed.
He was overdue for leave but had opted to remain with his soldiers...
BRIGADIER GENERAL CUNNIFF