- by Carolyne Volpe Curley / Carolyne@WestEssexNOW.com
residents, Scoutmaster Jerry Groome and Assistant Scoutmaster, Bill Styskal. Sanchez, 17, is a member of the West Essex High School Class of 2015.
A Tribute from Roseland
to the Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan
May 25, 2015
Troop 3, Caldwell, is an official Boy Scouts of America (BSA) troop under the Northern New Jersey Council. It was established in 1917 and currently holds its meeting at the Caldwell United Methodist Church.
"Welcome to today’s ceremony and thank you for attending. My name is Bill Styskal and I’m the Assistant Scout Master of Caldwell Troop 3. I along with Scout Master Jerry Groome and the Scout Executive Board James Petrarca, Frank Alexander, Pete Levine, Tom Iandiorio, Jerry Fahey, and Tim Zyla are honored to be here today on such an important occasion. We’re here today to honor our service members and to remember the sacrifices they have made in honor of duty, honor, and country.
It’s a true honor to be part of this unique unveiling of a Boy Scout Eagle Project. When the project was first presented to us, I was in awe of the idea of remembering the men and women who sacrifice so much for OUR freedom. I told Daniel that this project will be a part of Roseland’s history long after we are no longer here to enjoy his work.
We’re here to honor our heroes, to remember their achievements, their courage and their dedication, and to say thank you for their sacrifices. Thinking of the heroes who join us in this group today and those who are here only in spirit, a person can’t help but feel awed by the enormity of what we encounter. We stand in the midst of patriots and the family and friends of those who have nobly served.
The service members we honor on Memorial Day come from all walks of life, but they share several fundamental qualities. They possess courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty and integrity – all the qualities needed to serve a cause larger than one’s self.
Many of them didn’t ask to leave their homes to fight on distant battlefields. Many didn’t even volunteer. They didn’t go to war because they loved fighting. They were called to be part of something bigger than themselves. They were ordinary people who responded in extraordinary ways in extreme times. They rose to the nation’s call because they wanted to protect a nation which has them, us, so much.
Since the first shots at Lexington and Concord were fired and our Revolutionary War began, American men and women have been answering the nation’s call to duty. Millions of Americans have fought and died on battlefields here and abroad to defend our freedoms and way of life. Today our troops continue to make the ultimate sacrifices, and even as we lose troops, more Americans step forward to say, I’m ready to serve. They follow in the footsteps of generations of fine Americans.
The idea for Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, arose from the ashes of the Civil War. Following the Civil War, at least 620,000 Americans, both Union and Confederate, had been killed and hundreds of thousands more were maimed. Through the course of the war, Americans had blasted at each other’s lines with cannons and burned cities and towns on our own soil. Americans had locked each other in prisoner of war camps and torn up the railroads connecting north to south. Homes, schools and churches from Antietam to Vicksburg were riddled with bullet holes. The war’s unprecedented carnage and destruction was on a scale not even imaginable a few years before, and it changed America’s view of war forever.
From those dark times, it was the families who were honoring their dead that began to bring the light of reconciliation. These informal honors led to the first formal Memorial Day observance in Waterloo, New York, on May 5th, 1866. Congress officially recognized Memorial Day as a federal holiday in 1887.
Since then, with each passing year and subsequent conflicts, we’ve continued to honor our troops. We have awarded medals to many Soldiers, added their names to monuments and named buildings for them, to honor them for their bravery. But nothing can ever replace the hole left behind by a fallen service member, and no number of medals and ribbons can comfort the ones left behind.
I’d like to ask the service members and veterans who are here to stand. Thank you for answering the call to duty. You have made our armed forces the most respected in the world.
People throughout the country will gather together to remember, to honor, and to pay gratitude to those who have served our country. Our gathering is just one small spark in the flame of pride that burns across the nation today and every day. It’s not a lot, but it’s one small way we can honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live in freedom. Your presence here today and that of the people gathering all across America is a tribute to those lost troops and to their Families. It is a way to say we remember.
From the Soldiers who shivered and starved through the winter at Valley Forge to the doughboys crouched in the muddy trenches of France to the platoon who patrolled the hazy jungles of Vietnam and the young man or woman patrolling the mountains of Afghanistan, we remember and honor them all.
I want to personally congratulate Daniel not only on completing his Eagle Scout project but allowing the memories of those who served in Roseland to be felt for many years to come. Thank you for attending today. God bless you and your families, God bless our troops and God bless America."
~ Troop 3 Assistant Scout Master Bill Styskal
Styskal explained that the Caldwell troop takes a “very aggressive approach” to getting each of their members to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.
“We are very successful at getting our kids to the Eagle level,”
“Our troop is very dedicated towards getting these kids to move ahead.”
Tiger Scouts, usually in the first grade. By fifth grade, they transition from Cubs to Boys Scouts in an official “Bridge Ceremony.” Those older scouts then work to reach Eagle Scout ranking and by age 18, all scouts are considered adults at which time many of them go on to assist with the scouting program.
In 2012, about seven percent of all Boy Scouts attained the level of Eagle Scout.
“I’m not sure what percent of our scouts
have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout,” detailed Styskal,
“but I know it’s at least 50 percent and well over the national average.”
To express his feelings, Boettinger quoted,
"All give some and some give all.
They are never forgotten."
"We were all so grateful for everyone coming out to view the
unveiling of Eagle Scout Daniel Sanchez's memorial," Styskal expressed.
"We had a tremendous turnout by the scouts, Fire Department,
Police Department, First Aid Squad, family and friends.
He really did a great job with the project,
the monument will give remembrance to our soldiers for a lifetime!"
Troop 3 has scout members from towns throughout West Essex. If anyone is interested in joining the troop, they should contact Assistant Scoutmaster Bill Styskal by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.