May 25, 2015 (Kearny, NJ) The Memorial Day weekend is a time to reflect and honor our soldiers present and past.

In past years, KOTW has marked this solemn day to highlight two local residents, Army Staff Sgt. Edward Karolasz and Marine Lance Corporal Osbrany Montes de Oca, who gave their lives serving the United States of America in Iraq and Afghanistan. The passage of time has required that we update or delete broken links in those stories that have changed or been removed completely but the sentiment continues and our sense that we must stop and honor our soldiers and their families has not changed.

Kristine Karolasz, 30, accompanied by her 8-year-old daughter, Brianna Lancha, listen to Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the fourth annual “A Time of Remembrance” ceremony on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol Sept. 26, 2009. Kristine mourns the loss of her brother, Edward Karolasz, an Army staff sergeant with the 101st Airborne Division who was killed in action on Nov. 19, 2005, in Bayji, Iraq.Photograph courtesy of Gerry J. Gilmore.

On November 19, 2005, one of Kearny's residents serving in Iraq lost his life as a result of a road side bomb in Baiji, Iraq. Army Staff Sgt. Edward Karolasz gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

On February 10, 2012, Lance Corporal Osbrany Montes de Oca of North Arlington, NJ died in combat operations in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Montes de Oca, 20, was a Lance Corpal with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment , 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force. In February of this year, over 1500 mourners packed the Queen of Peace church and others lined Ridge Road in North Arlington outside the church and along the route to the North Arlington Cemetary.

On this Memorial Day weekend, we stop to reflect and give thanks for all that Army Staff Sgt. Edward Karolasz and Lance Corporal Osbrany Montes de Oca and others have done on behalf of our country. Our thoughts also go out to the the Karolasz and Montes de Oca families and friends.

As KOTW noted three years ago, The Newark Star Ledger has put together a Tribute to New Jersey Fallen Servicemembers Take a moment to visit the Tribute and take notice of the sacrifice made by these soldiers and their families on this Memorial Day.



Article on Army Staff Sgt. Edward Karolasz

Memorial for Army Staff Sgt. Edward Karolasz

Soldier saw the world, kept home in his heart (No Longer Available on Bergen Record website)

Likable Hudson hero loved the Army, adventure

Kearny Fire Department Honors Army Staff Sgt. Edward Karolasz (No Longer Available on Kearny Fire Website)

Article on Lance Corporal Osbrany Montes de Oca

Twin Brothers Article regarding Lance Corporal Osbrany Montes de Oca

Fallen Soldier's Mother Pledges To Keep Son's Memory Alive Article (Link no Longer Available from Bergen Record)

Portions of the above article were published during the 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2014 Memorial Day weekend. Use our Submit Article or visit our Discussion Board and leave us your reflections and thoughts on Memorial Day.