Ocean County Press Release
TOMS RIVER – Ocean County's World War I Centennial will conclude after a year of events in honor of all those who served in the Great War.
The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites everyone to join in marking the Armistice Day Centenary on Nov. 11.
The event marking 100 years since the end of World War I is scheduled to take place on the front lawn of the Ocean County Courthouse, 118 Washington St., here. Music from the time period will start around 10 a.m. with the ceremony beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Additionally, Ocean County Freeholder Virginia E. Haines, Ocean County Historian Tim Hart, and Michael Schaffer, the Head Trustee of American Legion Post 129 are scheduled to give remarks.
At 11 a.m. local time, Americans across the nation will toll bells in remembrance of those who served and sacrificed during World War I.
"Ocean County will toll the bell 75 times for the number of residents who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War I," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little.
There will also be a dedication of the cannon, which was restored by the American Legion Post 129, as the County's new monument to the Great War.
"Records have shown that over ten percent of Ocean County's population at the time had served in World War I," said Little, who serves as the liaison to the Ocean County Veterans Bureau. "We have always taken great pride in our residents who have served our country and the World War I Centennial has continued to remind us the importance of our veterans."
The World War I Centennial began with a ceremony on April 6, 2017 honoring the 2,433 Ocean County men who served in the "War to End All Wars." The event was held in historic Courtroom 1, because Ocean County soldiers heading for war in 1917 first mustered at the county courthouse.
The Centennial Commemoration, initiated by Freeholder Deputy Director John C. Bartlett Jr., continued with the help of the Tuckerton Seaport Stitchers by constructing Centennial Service Flags. The stitchers donated their time to create 28 commemorative service flags, one for each of the municipalities that existed in 1918 in Ocean County.
The flags were designed in homage to the World War I era practice of creating community flags. Each of these flags contains 13 stars representing the original colonies, a blue number indicating the total individuals who served from each municipality and a gold number representing the total individuals from that town who made the supreme sacrifice.
Over the last year, the Ocean County Freeholders Virginia E. Haines and John P. Kelly have joined members of the Ocean County Parks Department and the Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission in crisscrossing the county, delivering the flags to the respective municipalities in honor of those who protected our freedom during the war.
"The Service Flags have added a unique perspective to the history of World War I in Ocean County," said Freeholder Bartlett, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission. "The flags have allowed the public to be re-engaged with the World War I era, and has shown how their towns were impacted by the war."
Other events commemorating the World War I Centennial included the Board of Freeholders planting a Tulip Poplar tree during the County's 2018 Arbor Day ceremony, in partnership with a nation-wide memorial tree program by the Saving Hallowed Ground Organization. The tree is a lasting memorial to the Ocean County residents who fought during World War I and especially those that made the ultimate sacrifice during the conflict.
To mark the Nov. 11 occasion, the exterior of the courthouse is decorated with red, white and blue bunting typical of the time period, and an enlarged replica of the Victory Medal currently hangs between the columns.