In such tumultuous times, coming together as a community is something Cedar Grove does better than any other town. To affirm this, we do not need to look any further than to the work David Schoner and our Cedar Grove High School students do each and every year with the Cedar Grove Waves program.
Yesterday, I had the honor of attending a ceremony thanking Dave and the students for their selfless and tireless work. Every year, Dave and the students affix nearly 3,000 flags with name plates on the front lawn of the high school. The sight of these flags renders me speechless. We are fortunate to have such a national spotlight right here in our community – a spotlight that preserves the memory of the souls lost on 9/11 and fulfills our promise to Never Forget. With such chaos plaguing the world, this year it might have been easier to forget than in years prior. Instead, in addition to the flags that are put up annually, this year Cedar Grove Waves planted two trees in memory of the two Cedar Grove residents who passed away on that tragic day. Always growing the ceremony, magnifying the memory.
Chairman Kevin O’Toole of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Det. Jack Collins of the Port Authority Police Department, Steve Plate, the Port Honor Guard, Pipes and Drums, and Counter-Terrorism Unit, as well as our very own CGPD and Volunteer Fire Department came out in full force to thank Dave and the students for their work in preserving the promise to Never Forget. Det. Collins’s speech did not leave a dry eye in attendance, his words and detailed description of that day left me without words. In this moment, I realized that the program Dave and the students put on not only serves as a memorial for the souls lost, but as a reminder that we can overcome tragedy by supporting and honoring individuals like Det. Collins, a true hero in every sense of the word.
Dave and the students deserved every single ounce of this recognition and I am grateful that we were able to convey our thanks in this special way. I am fortunate to live in this town and am even more fortunate to represent the community as Councilman, however, yesterday I was even more blessed to be a part of a community that is unlike any other. No town does it better than Cedar Grove.