Borough Honors Korean War Vet
Despite the rained-out parade, Midland Park residents packed the firehouse on Saturday to honor those who lost their lives in service to this country and those who served alongside them. The Grand Marshal of the Midland Park Memorial Day Ceremony, Korean War veteran George Hoogenhuis, is the first Korean War veteran to serve in this honored role.
The Korean War, fought between North Korea, with the support of China and the Soviet Union, and South Korea, supported by the United Nations, from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953. More than 325,000 Americans fought in the war, with more than 35,000 American soldiers killed, including Midland Park resident Raymond Estes.
Hoogenhuis served 11 months of active duty in Korea. As a commander in charge of battlefield illumination, his unit would set up lights and shine them into the sky to light up the mountainous battlefield. Their slogan: Light the Fight. He can hardly believe that 61 years have passed since his service, and he considers himself grateful and privileged to have been able to come home.
Raised in Midland Park, Hoogenhuis attended the Midland Park Christian School, now known as Eastern Christian Elementary School, and Central High School in Paterson, where he studied agriculture. He decided to stay in the North Jersey area, and he and his wife Clara raised their family in Mahwah, where they have lived for the past 58 years.
Hoogenhuis is a member of the VFW 7086 which serves both Midland Park and Wyckoff. As a member of the Parade Committee, he worked hard to make the Memorial Day event a success. He assisted in designing and constructing the new floats (which will hopefully ride down the streets next Memorial Day) and helped with last minute tasks, like picking up the hot dogs and buns that the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary gave out after the service.
Serving as grand marshal was “really a thrill,” he said, noting he felt honored to hold the position. Hoogenhuis deserves the honor of grand marshal for his military service and for his countless hours of service to this community—Midland Park is honored to have him.