DEPTFORD TWP. — Veterans Day got its start at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when an armistice was signed officially ending World War I.
The date was Armistice Day until 1954, when it was changed to honor all American veterans.
So it was fitting that Tuesday’s official Gloucester County Veterans Day ceremony started at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 at Rowan College at Gloucester County.
Held in the Student Center mezzanine, the celebration of county residents who have served in the military drew nearly 200 people.
Making an emotional appearance was Donna Iannelli, the mother of U.S. Marine Corps Capt, Ryan Iannelli, who died in 2011 in Afghanistan. Flanked by images of her son, Ianelli recounted his devotion to God and his country and said he made a choice to forego a childhood dream of becoming a professional baseball player to join the Marine Corps in 2007.
The young man, while a senior at Kingsway Regional High School, won a $2,000 Veterans of Foreign Wars scholarship in an essay contest.
“America is the foundation on which I stand,” wrote the deeply religious teenager. “There will nevercome a day when I don’t bleed red, white and blue.”
The 2014 class of the Gloucester County Police Academy at the college was split in two, with cadets in formation at the back of the room and a smaller number — cadets who are veterans — formed up behind the podium.
Veterans were recognized and honored and Deputy Freeholder Director Giuseppe “Joe” Chila, the liaison to the county’sVeterans Affairs Office, said Gloucester County tries to serve and honor its veterans not just n Veterans Day, but everyday.