What happens when we're not flipping tables and pumping our fists
I saw a You Tube video posted to Facebook the other day showing a parade in Westwood, NJ. There were pipers playing Amazing Grace and the Marine Corp Hymn. Fire trucks rounded the corners of streets lined with people holding American flags. The citizens of the town were gathered to welcome home one of their own, a Marine Sargent who lost his life in Afghanistan. I don't know anyone in Westwood. I've only lived in New Jersey for a year, so I might not even be able to find my way to Westwood. What I do know from my time here, is that THIS is what New Jersey is all about. The people of this state are not about edited footage that includes flipping tables and pumping fists. The people of New Jersey are about pride and taking care of their own.
I moved here from an amazing place. The city where I lived had a rich cultural diversity that is unparalleled. I lived in a neighborhood convenient to everything from Thai food to farmers' markets. My neighbors were great. The schools were top notch. I loved my town. Then I moved to New Jersey and experienced the small town-type of life that results from train station and ocean front communities and makes Jersey great. Where I live now, there are crossing guards who know my children's names and bankers who come out from behind bullet proof glass to give out lollipops.
New Jersey is a place where people take you in and make you a part of their family. Even if you aren't born and raised here, you feel welcome. There is a tremendous sense of pride from its "lifer" citizens, but New Jersey is never closed to anyone new. The people of New Jersey give their heroes a proper homecoming and welcome visitors and transplants to their table as well. Everyone is invited to the party.Continued on the next page