Veterans boarded Lake Hopatcong Cruises’ Miss Lotta to be honored by Lake Hopatcong residents for their service to their country. This now annual tradition takes 24 veterans from each of the four towns bordering the lake on a catered cruise to different preset locations where residents line up with American flags to applaud the veterans on board.

As the veterans boarded the Miss Lotta, Mark Noyes and Capt. Bill Orr played military tunes on the bagpipes as two Marines, Gunnery Sgt. Mario and Sgt. Dominic Monaco, saluted them and gave each of them a gift bag. Veterans received toiletries from Operation New Jersey Cares, Girl Scout cookies, pieces of an American flag that an elderly man refuses to burn and pillows made by a 90-year-old woman who is dedicated to providing each soldier with one.

Before the cruise took off, Mayor Eric Wilsusen and Capt. Lee Moreua, who both worked to plan the event, greeted the veterans and thanked them for their service.

The cruise took the veterans to different local hubs in each of the towns. For the Hopatcong/Jefferson cruise, residents honored the veterans with music, flags, signs, and applause at location, including Brady Bridge and River Styx Bridge, which were open for the general public to gather.

“It’s really great to see the honor that people give to their veterans,” Mario Monaco said.

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