Glen Ridge pays tribute to the fallen

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Glen Ridge held its annual Memorial Day parade Monday, May 27.

One could not ask for better weather. But following the parade of residents and civic organizations down Ridgewood Avenue, the number of people gathered at its terminus, between the public library and elementary school, the site of the veterans’ monuments, was noticeably fewer than in recent years.

Still, the ceremony was heartfelt and worthy.

The flag on the Ridgewood Avenue School grounds was raised to half-staff and the steadfast Sharon DeRosa Smolen sang an evocative national anthem. Rabbi Marc Katz, of Temple Ner Tamid, gave the invocation.

“In a world that doesn’t often allow us to open our hearts, let it burst with gratitude to honor the legacy of the fallen and what they have given,” he said.

He was followed by a selection played by the Glen Ridge High School Band, bronze medalists in the 2023 national championships.

Then Mayor Debbie Mans spoke. She said her family had visited Civil War sites during spring break, including the battlefields of Gettysburg and Antietam, the latter being the costliest battle ever in American lives. Almost 24,000 men, Union and Confederate soldiers, were killed or wounded.

“It is hard to overstate the true value of sacrifice when you stand on a battlefield,” she said. “Maintaining freedom requires an active involvement and commitment to each other.”

A prayer of remembrance was offered by Katz.

He asked God to help the gathered to hold the meaning of the flag which waved above him and said its stars were placed upon it through sacrifice.

A reading of the names of borough residents who died in combat were read and wreaths were placed. Katz gave his benediction.

Oh, Lord,” he said, “the names we heard were of people who tried to fix a broken world. Through the fog may we see their light.”

Taps was then played.