Written by Jillian Decker, Mike Thornton, and Matthew Agrusti, MIDN 1/C, USMCR
Last month, the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation was honored to host the Commissioning Ceremony for Midshipman First Class Matthew Agrusti. The Commissioning Ceremony serves to induct officers into their military service through the public recitation of the Oath of the Commissioned Officer. Through this oath, cadets pledge their solemn duty to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Tracing its origins to service in Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, the wording of the oath has changed over the centuries, but the ideals inherent in the oath’s promise remain the same. The commissioning ceremony serves as the pivotal rite of passage in an officer’s career as they join the proud ranks of many of our nation’s finest leaders. Taken before an audience of family and friends, Commissioning Ceremonies are proud and deeply meaningful events in the lives of military personnel.
Agrusti chose the Memorial due to the Vietnam War’s significance to the United States Marine Corps:
The reason I chose to have my Commissioning Ceremony at the NJ Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial is because of the rich history that the Marine Corps has in that war. I think of people like Gunnery Sergeant John Canley or the fighting that happened at Hue City and am reminded of all the greatness that has come before me, and what I need to live up to in my career. Also, desiring to be a Marine Corps pilot, Vietnam started to see the more modern aircraft being used during the war. The Army Huey on the outside of the building was a beautiful addition to the memorial. On top of the rich history of the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial is a beautiful place. The memorial on the outside, showing all of the men and woman from New Jersey who were killed in the War was very humbling and is a beautiful spot to reflect on what these people gave for our country.
This experience meant so much to my family and friends. Everybody loved the venue and it was also relatable, many had friends or family serve in the Vietnam War. We are all very grateful for how well we were treated by the staff and for how much they helped us setting up the venue and giving a tour of the memorial. The veterans working at the memorial were a true testament to what it means to be a service member. It was very motivational to hear their stories and learn about the experiences they had in order to protect this nation. There could not have been a better place for this commissioning ceremony and I am forever grateful to the staff of the Vietnam Veteran’s memorial.
The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation is honored to offer the Vietnam Era Museum to serve as the location of events honoring those who serve and have served in our armed forces, including Commissioning Ceremonies, military retirement ceremonies, meeting spaces for Veterans organizations, and more. For more information on hosting an event at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation’s Vietnam Era Museum, please contact Office Manager Gerry Appel at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 732.335.0033 x103.