On a crisp Saturday morning at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, The Borough of Rumson honored its veterans with its annual Veteran’s Day Ceremony at Victory Park.
Following the Posting of Colors and Pledge of Allegiance by the Rumson Boy Scouts and the RFH Veterans Appreciation Club, Borough Council President John J. Conklin III opened the ceremony by thanking everyone for attending. Conklin first took a moment to recognize the veterans in attendance before welcoming Father Michael Manning of the Holy Cross Parish to lead the Invocation. A beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by Rumson’s own Haley Nastro preceded this year’s speaker: long-time Rumson resident Ed Harrington.
Harrington, 91, was born and raised in Rumson, New Jersey and attended Lafayette Street School, as well as Holy Cross Grammar School, before attending Rumson High School. Harrington cut his education short to join the United States Navy as his mother insisted he join because she wanted him to, in her words, “look after his older brother”.
In 1951, Harrington was officially a member of the United States Navy and attended basic training in Rhode Island, later joining the US Navy Seebees and completing advanced training at Port Hueneme in California.
Harrington served as an Iron Worker, 2nd Class, building airport infrastructures such as fighter and bomber strips throughout. His Navy duties included time served in Guam, the Philippines, China and Hong Kong before returning to San Diego, California.
Once back in Rumson, Harrington worked for The Borough’s Department of Public Works and served as the Building and Grounds Director for Forrestdale School before serving in the Army National Guard, retiring as a Master Sergeant. His career also brought him to New York State where he worked as a farmer, code enforcer and a judge.
Harrington was married to his beloved Josephine for 68 years. He is the father of two daughters, four granddaughters and five great grandchildren. Harrington also served the Rumson Fire Department for over 60 years, served as a Special Police Officer for the Borough, and coached Rumson Pop Warner football for over 25 years. Today, Harrington is active with the Rumson Senior Club.
Harrington took the stage and provided a heartfelt account of some of his favorite stories from the time he served, bringing both tears and laughs to all in attendance. He focused on the three monuments in Victory Park and all of his fellow Rumson residents who are listed on there. In addition he talked about so many that he knew who went off to serve from Rumson, came home, and now so few are left. The message he shared reflected The Borough’s appreciation for all that have served the United States.
Following the traditional presentation of the Wreaths by Rumson Borough Council, Rumson PBA and Rumson EMS, Councilwoman Sarah Pomphrey brought forth a new tradition by reading the names of all the active service men and women from RFH High School.
Following the Benediction and Retiring of the Colors, the community stayed to thank Harrington for his service and his words and to honor the veterans by visiting the monuments throughout Victory Park.