‘A Day in the Park’ honors veterans, celebrates family history
HAMMONTON - The Historical Society of Hammonton showed its pride in the town Sunday afternoon during a special open house.
Called “A Day in the Park: Celebrating Our Heritage and Honoring Our Military,” visitors were able to walk through the historical society building to view around 400 photos of local veterans who served from the Civil War to the present. The photos also included members from every branch of the service.
“Everybody has a story,” said historical society president Anne Marie DeCicco. “I know a lot of these people and I got a little teary eyed hearing their stories.”
According to DeCicco, it took around nine to 10 months to collect, sort and copy all of the photos. While it was an exhausting effort, DeCicco was pleased with the end result. In fact, she is already developing what may be the next presentation, which she hopes to focus on first responders including EMTs, firefighters and police officers.
However, the veterans’ photo displays were not the only special thing happening during the open house. The society also welcomed local eighth-grade students as they presented their family trees.
“Students should be very proud for taking on this project,” said DeCicco.
Nine students from the eighth-grade Enrichment Class at Hammonton Middle School were able to attend Sunday’s event and present some of the interesting things they learned about their family trees. For example, Olivia Strigh learned that one of her ancestors, Benjamin Nye, was a part of the Plymouth Colony.
All of the students present agreed that it was an interesting experience to research their family backgrounds and that it gave them more pride in their heritage.
“My students are awesome,” said Hammonton Middle School Social Studies teacher Jason Massara. Twenty-two of Massara’s eighth-grade Enrichment students participated in the project despite it not being a requirement.
“It’s not like they get extra credit or anything. I am so proud,” Massara said.
It appeared that everyone was in awe of all the hard work the students did in order to research their family trees and enjoyed listening to what the students learned.
“I love this type of event ... it is one of my favorite things about being mayor,” said Mayor Steve DiDonato.
In all, 42 eighth-grade students from St. Joseph Elementary School and the Hammonton Middle School voluntarily took on the project of researching their family trees. All 42 student family trees will remain at the historical society where people are more than welcome to come in and look through them.
The veterans’ photo displays will remain up at the historical society through Veterans Day. If you have any photos of a local veteran(s), the historical society will still take them and add them to the collection. Once the veterans’ presentations are taken down, the pictures will be stored in albums at the society. Also, if you have any photos of first responders that you would like to share, please contact the historical society.
The Historical Society of Hammonton is open every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon and the first Saturday of the month from 10 a.m to noon. For more information, please visit its website at www.historicalsocietyofhammonton.org.