The Protectors of Freedom statue in Toms River. (Photo: Toms River Township)
The Protectors of Freedom statue in Toms River. (Photo: Toms River Township)

The annual Veterans Day parade in downtown Toms River will be replaced by a smaller ceremony this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials have announced.

The 2020 Ocean County Veterans Day Ceremony will be held on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 10:30 a.m. at the Protectors of Freedom sculpture, located in Bey Lea Park, 570 Bay Avenue, Toms River. The parade was unable to be presented due to state restrictions on large social gatherings, the township said in a statement.

The ceremony will feature speakers and honored guests, a military flyover, rifle salute and the placing of the wreath at the Protectors of Freedom sculpture. The public will be allowed to attend but attendees will be required to wear face coverings and maintain proper social distancing

“There are over 18 million veterans in the United States or about 7 percent of the population who have served in our armed forces,” said Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill. “Although we will not be able to gather for parades and large celebrations on this Veteran’s Day, we all need to pause and reflect on the service and dedication of our veterans who have defended our freedoms at home and around the world and those who ‘stand the watch’ today.”

In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place in the Toms River Municipal Building, 33 Washington Street, in the L. Manuel Hirshblond Meeting Room on the second floor