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Toms River Pays Tribute to Fallen Soldier

Parents of James Harvey II on hand for renaming of road, placing of memorial

Nearly three years after their son died, Toms River residents Susan and James Harvey say that not much has changed.

"It's like it was yesterday," Susan James said.

One day in June 2011, the couple learned that their son, James, had died while fighting in Afghanistan, just days after they received his sergeant stripes in the mail for his upcoming promotion.

Toms River paid tribute Friday afternoon to U.S. Army Sgt. James Harvey II, who died in Ghazni province while fighting to help protect his fellow soldiers during a fight that involved small arms fire.

"Nothing changes," said James Harvey. "We miss him as much today as we did that day."

In his honor, the township has renamed a portion of Church Road the Sgt. James Harvey II Memorial Highway and placed a sign in his honor along the roadway, in front of the Toms River American Legion Post 129, of which the elder James Harvey is now a member.

The Harveys have had a tough few years. Their home in the township's Green Island section was destroyed in Superstorm Sandy, and they continue to miss their son every day. But between their friends at the Legion and other in the Toms River community, they've found support.

James Harvey II was first attracted to the Army, his father said, for the experience and education he would be able to receive. After his first stint was up, he re-enlisted, explaining to his father his inner sense of duty and desire to serve his country.

"I asked him why he wanted to go back, and he just said, 'This is something I have to do,'" Harvey said. "I wasn't trying to stop him, I just wanted to know why he wanted to re-enlist. When he said that, having served myself, I understood."

For James Harvey, the positioning of the sign in front of the Legion hall is perfect.

"The run for the fallen stops here," he said. "So every one of those soldiers are going to see this sign."
Dan P April 05, 2014 at 09:53 PM
God bless and thank you for your service.
ellenanchor April 06, 2014 at 06:27 AM
Thank you James (and family) for your service. You have raised a Hero. God Bless.
dennis giaimo April 06, 2014 at 08:32 AM
I was in Kandahar as a civilian in 2012. I saw day to day what our troops do for us all in the cause of Freedom. Arrived in January and it never rained after March. So hot, dusty was a constant. The troops go out on missions like we go to the Mall and thinking some of these kids may not come back. Both young men and women in MRAPs with 100 lbs of gear. We owe them much more that what we recognize them for. I could go on and on. I really feel every American kid like in Israel should serve at least 6 weeks in boot camp to understand and actually feel what it is like to be a solder.
steve fenichel April 06, 2014 at 11:10 PM
The old men lie and the young boys die: War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. War is nothing but a heartbreaker, A friend only to the undertaker.
Whoisleadingus?? April 15, 2014 at 08:15 PM
As a 20 year veteran myself, nothing can explain that desire to go back with your brothers and sisters in arms. Having served in Desert Shield, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom, my heart hurts when I hear another one has made the ultimate sacrifice. God holds a special place in his kindom for those who give so much, but seek so little in return. May he rest in peace and God bless his family. Thank you for allowing him to serve.

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