U.S. 1’s November 7 article by Dan Aubrey on the World War II Memorial in Trenton elicited a response from a reader who chose to remain anonymous but who wanted to alert us to another dimension to the story:

“Your otherwise enlightening piece about New Jersey’s (i.e. the people’s) World War II Memorial, dedicated in 2008 on West State Street opposite the State Capitol in Trenton, described historical facts embodied in the monument’s design — yet your story stopped short of reporting important recent developments that are in stark contrast to the profound principles behind the very existence of this and other commemorations.

“Earlier this year the New Jersey Department of the Treasury’s Division of Property Management and Construction imposed, over citizens’ opposition, regulations restricting public access to, and use of, the New Jersey World War II memorial (proposal No. PRN 2011-254 for new rules under N.J.A.C.17:15B). Among other limitations, civilians (veterans too?) are no longer allowed to gather in groups at the site unless a permit has been granted beforehand.

“This contradicts Americans’ freedom of peaceable assembly and expression as affirmed in the U.S. Bill of Rights, and furthers mounting efforts at all levels of government to suppress public dissent (e.g., the ‘Occupy’ protests worldwide and locally). Lamentably, earnestly established memorials are becoming irrelevant by disregard of the underlying ideals that our soldiers supposedly fought to protect for us all.

“When visiting the World War II Memorial (obediently and in small numbers to avoid arrest!), there are other modes of travel available besides private automobile. New Jersey Transit operates regularly scheduled Capitol Connection bus lines (maps and timetables online at www.njtransit.com) with stops within a block or so of the site. Utilizing public transportation reduces one’s individual consumption of resources as well as decreases somewhat our overall national dependency on nonrenewable fuels — thereby lessening a motive for going to war.”

The regulations referred to by our anonymous correspondent were enacted in response to the “Occupy” protesters, who had esatablished a position at the World War II Memorial. In explaining the new rules the state noted that “the Memorial is designed and intended for temporary visits. It is not a campground, nor is it equipped for long-term inhabitation. The Memorial has no permanent shelter and offers no protection from the elements. It has no public restroom or washroom facilities. The Memorial has no running water and no electricity intended for public use. It has no capacity or facilities for trash or refuse. It has no facilities to ensure the security of persons or property.

“The Memorial is directly across from and within 100 feet of the State Capitol Complex. It serves as a pedestrian thoroughfare for those seeking access to the Capitol Complex. Its proximity to the Capitol Complex raises security and safety concerns.”

CASA Thanks Girlchoir

On Sunday afternoon, November 11, the Princeton Girlchoir held its fifth annual “Children Making a Difference” benefit concert at the Trinity Cathedral of Trenton. It was a beautiful, stirring performance by the Girlchoir, along with the Training Choir of the American Boychoir, and proceeds from admission to the concert, and other donations, entirely benefited Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children of Mercer and Burlington Counties.

Conducting the Girlchoir was associate director Melissa Malvar-Keylock, who founded the benefit in honor of her mother, who died in 1998 and who had spent her professional life as a social worker and her free time at church singing in the choir. We are touched to have been chosen as the beneficiaries of this extraordinary concert, at which more than $2,600 was raised.

CASA is non-profit organization dedicated to serving children in Mercer and Burlington counties who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. The mission of our program is that through trained community volunteers, these children will be assigned an advocate in court to ensure they receive needed services while in out-of-home placement and ultimately, a permanent home as quickly as possible.

We are grateful to have been a part of and to have benefited so generously from this year’s Children Making a Difference concert.

Randall Kirkpatrick

Kirkpatrick is director of community development, CASA for Children of Mercer and Burlington Counties.

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