Mayor Bencivengo Addresses Deploying Troops
On Tuesday, April 27, 2010, at the William S. Stryker Reserve Center in Hamilton Township, Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo addressed the 462nd Transportation Battalion of the United States Army Reserves, who will be deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, during a Farewell Ceremony for the troops.
In the attached photograph, Mayor Bencivengo shakes the hand of Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Michael L. Butler, Commander of the 462nd Battalion, and is surrounded by other United States Army personnel, following the Farewell Ceremony (Photograph courtesy of Hamilton Township)
Below is the text of Mayor Bencivengo’s remarks from this afternoon:
It is an honor and a privilege for me to be in your presence today.
Just over 2 years ago, I became the Mayor of Hamilton Township and the representative of our community's 92,000 residents. And if you are ever as fortunate as I, to be chosen by your fellow neighbors to represent them in public office, I can tell you that it is an awesome, and a most humbling, honor.
It also is an experience that takes some getting used to, because within the blink of an eye, you become an "important" figure. All of a sudden, it seems like everyone gravitates toward you. Suddenly, people act as if you are a “celebrity.”
But let me tell you something…Each and every one of you here today, who have put the interest of our country and the cause of freedom above your own safety and well-being….
YOU are the real celebrities.
YOU are the "important" individuals in our community.
YOU are the men and women we ought to gravitate towards.
Because YOU are the silent heroes of our nation.
Personally, I never served in the armed forces or in the reserves.
And in all honesty, I am not sure if I would have made a good soldier.
Yours is a bravery and courage that few of us who have never worn the uniform can fully understand.
But there was someone who I was very close to, who did wear the uniform. He taught me to appreciate the sacrifices of those who have served our country. His name was Luciano Bencivengo – and he was my father.
It was only days after I became the Mayor that my father passed away. And while I can take some solace in the fact that he lived long enough to see me sworn into office, it still was an extremely trying and painful time for me and my family. But it was his life that gave me an appreciation for those who answer our nation’s highest call to duty.
My father served in World War II and in the Korean War. He was awarded the Purple Heart because of being wounded in battle and 2 bronze stars.
But my father never spoke a word about this honor. In fact, I only discovered his heroism after his passing. He never boasted of his service. And he never gloated about his courage.
Yet, as I was growing up, my father was the person in my life who taught me what it means to love this country and what a special gift freedom is.
And it was because of his great humility, and the same humility that I have witnessed in several other veterans of his era, that I consider those who currently serve, and who have served our country in our Armed Forces, our Nation’s Silent Heroes. He was part of the greatest generation and I understand why.
Because every time we at home see a movie star engulfed by the paparazzi…
And every time those of us who do not wear the uniform see a professional athlete who commands widespread admiration…
There is a soldier, somewhere, in a foreign land whose sacrifices allow our country to be at peace… so that we can safely go to watch a movie at a theater on a Friday evening or enjoy a game on Sunday afternoon
And every time we watch on television, where a pioneer of industry makes millions, or even billions of dollars, and enjoys a life of luxury…
And every time a Wall Street stock trader intently gazes at a market industry average that indicates how well his or her investments are performing on a given day
There is a soldier, somewhere in our world, whose service has preserved a peaceful nation where commerce, even during the most difficult of economic times, can continue
But it is even during our every day routines that your sacrifices allow us to enjoy the milestones of our lives and make the memories that will last the rest of our days
When a child is born in the United States of America, it will grow up in a land that is free because of YOU
When a teenager gets his or her first car or goes out on his or her first date, the liberty he or she enjoys is a reality because of YOU
And when a young couple gives births to their first child or purchases their very first home, and begins the journey of life together, the opportunities of America await them, thanks to YOU
And make no mistake about it…the fact that in our daily lives that we do not always stop and reflect about how lucky we really are to live in country that provides us with such freedom and liberties is a testament to every soldier who has allowed our land to be one that provides us with the pursuits of happiness and God-given inalienable rights
That is why I am so happy to have this opportunity to be among you today, and to say, that on behalf of the 92,000 residents of Hamilton Township, the nearly 9 million residents of the State of New Jersey, and the over 300 million citizens of the United States of America… “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You…”
You are our Silent Heroes that we will miss while oversees
And you are our Courageous Young Men and Women that we will pray for to return safe and sound
During the long days and long nights in the deserts of Iraq, if you find yourself longing for home…rest assured that YOU, our Silent Heroes, are loved, and that your families, friends, neighbors and loved ones continue to think of you
And when you come back home, know, that an eternally grateful nation will eagerly await welcoming its Silent Heroes home, with open arms and hearts.
May God Bless each and every one of you.
And May God Continue to Bless the United States of America.