BAPS Honors Veterans on Special Day in Robbinsville, NJ

BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham, located in Robbinsville, NJ, recently held a Veterans Appreciation Day ceremony on September 16, 2023. The event, which took place outdoors against the stunning backdrop of Akshardham, was attended by nearly 100 veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their families. The purpose of the ceremony was to honor and recognize the dedication and commitment of these brave individuals to the nation.

Both the BAPS organization and the local community deeply appreciated the service, courage, and commitment demonstrated by the current and former members of the U.S. Military. They gathered together to pay tribute to these selfless individuals who have tirelessly served the nation, defending the principles of freedom, liberty, and democracy. Leading the ceremony was SSgt Angelina Mehta, a proud U.S. Marine Corps veteran with 20 years of service and a dedicated BAPS volunteer.

The program began with a presentation of the colors by the Burlington High School JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps), followed by a moment of silence to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the nation. A beautiful duet of the American national anthem added a touch of solemnity to the proceedings. The ceremony highlighted the shared values of service and selflessness held by both BAPS and the U.S. Military.

Ms. Medina Wilson, Chief of Veteran Services of Mercer County, spoke on behalf of Mercer County Executive, Mr. Brian Hughes, expressing her honor to recognize the contributions of veterans. She also conveyed BAPS’ enthusiasm for inaugurating this annual Veterans Appreciation Day at Akshardham. A special pinning ceremony was held as a heartfelt gesture of appreciation from BAPS to the veterans for their unwavering dedication. The event also acknowledged the pivotal role played by the families of veterans and active-duty U.S. Armed Forces, recognizing them as the foundation of the nation’s strength and resilience.

Captain Robert E. Smyth delivered a touching speech during the program, focusing on the qualities of veterans and emphasizing the importance of honoring all branches of the U.S. Armed Services. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to be present at the event and thanked both the local veterans and those currently serving on active duty or in the reserves. He also highlighted BAPS’ commitment to reaching out to local veterans and providing support to them and their families.

In addition to honoring the veterans, the ceremony also commemorated National POW/MIA Recognition Day, observed on September 15, 2023. This day of remembrance paid tribute to American prisoners of war and those who served but never returned home. To symbolize their sacrifice, a Missing Man table was set up, serving as a powerful reminder of their absence and the need to remember and honor their service.

The program concluded with SSgt Angelina Mehta encouraging all participants to reflect on the message of selfless service and harmony. She emphasized the significance of Akshardham as a symbol of unity and dedication, regardless of background or beliefs. Mehta also shared the wisdom of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, BAPS’ former spiritual leader, whose life motto, ‘In the joy of others, lies our own,’ underscores the interconnectedness of happiness and the importance of extending a helping hand to others. She called for the continuation of this spirit of unity and understanding in communities, particularly in supporting those who have given so much to the nation.

The Veterans Appreciation Day ceremony at BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham served as a powerful tribute to the veterans and active-duty military members who have dedicated their lives to serving the nation. It highlighted the shared values of service, selflessness, and unity that both BAPS and the U.S. Military hold dear. As the attendees reflected on the sacrifices made by these brave individuals, they were inspired to carry forward the spirit of compassion and support in their communities.

Related Articles

Back to top button