GLEN RIDGE, NJ — Glen Ridge held its traditional Memorial Day Parade and picnic Monday morning, May 30. Temperatures were in the 80s before noon, and, along Ridgewood Avenue, the route of the march, spectators congregated in the shade of trees, leaving unpopulated sunny stretches of curbside between them.
At the Veterans Monument following the parade, Mayor Stuart Patrick read from a speech given by President Ronald Reagan at Arlington National Cemetery on May 31, 1982. He said it was an extremely thoughtful and meaningful address.
“Many of the world events he comments on that day are still very much with us,” Patrick said.
At the start of his 1982 speech, Reagan discussed President Abraham Lincoln’s assertion prior to delivering the Gettysburg Address in 1863 that such speeches experienced a “swift obscurity.” But Reagan pointed out that “Lincoln was wrong about that particular occasion.”
“I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country,” Reagan said in 1982. “Yet, we must try to honor them — not for their sakes alone, but for our own.
“As we honor their memory today, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation,” Reagan said. “And let us also pledge to do our utmost to carry out what must have been their wish: that no other generation of young men will ever have to share their experiences and repeat their sacrifice.”
After Patrick spoke, the importance of remembrance was stressed by Rabbi Marc Katz of Temple Ner Tamid. Before the names of Glen Ridge’s fallen veterans were read, Katz asked that people make the effort to remember at least one name from the list.
“In a moment, there will be a series of names,” he said. “When they are unfamiliar, they can be lost to us. But all are stories of a brother, a father, a son, a neighbor. Pick one name and carry that one name the rest of the day. Especially the students here, place it on your heart.”
Katz also gave the benediction.
“May we remember we are here because of them,” he said. “As they sought to make the world better, so shall we.”
Photos by Daniel Jackovino