After the trials and tribulations of the last few years, Essex Fells was able to mark Memorial Day with a full set of events in time-honored fashion. The last time that we saw all three events on Memorial Day was 2019.
For those who missed them, and for future years, Memorial Day starts at 8:30 with a ceremony in front of Borough Hall. That is followed by the West Essex Memorial Day parade down Bloomfield Avenue starting at 9:30. Finally, the town picnic on the Green from midday.
Memorial Day Ceremony
The morning ceremony commemorates the five sons of Essex Fells who fell in service to our country. Their names are memorialized on five plaques in the memorial garden in front of Borough Hall.
Mayor Davis read out their names. A bugler played "Taps." Their memory continues to inspire a community about what it means to serve.
In a tradition started by former Mayor Abbot, Mayor Davis then welcomed Essex Fells veterans to the ceremony and invited them to state their branch and years of service.
In his comments, the mayor thanked the veterans both for their military service in the past and their community service in more recent years to Essex Fells. He drew parallels between "service to country" and "service to community." The spirit of volunteerism that runs so strong in Essex Fells has been critical to achieving many of the great things about our Borough. Long may it continue, and long may they inspire younger generations to volunteer in our community in the same way.
Memorial Day Parade
The West Essex Memorial Day parade consists of several towns (Fairfield, Roseland, the Caldwells, as well as Essex Fells) marching the 1-mile route from the corner of Bloomfield and Roseland Avenues down towards the gazebo at the Caldwell Recreation department at Fairfield Avenue.
The order of march has been well established over many years, with each group being allocated a "staging post."
In time-honored fashion, Essex Fells Fire Department took up their allocated position.
Behind the mayors, town councilors, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, marching bands, vintage cars, first aid squads, motorbikes, bicyclists, and anyone else that wants to march, at the very end come the fire departments.
At the back of the fire departments, at the very end of the parade, comes the Essex Fells Fire Department.
The honor of being very last in the parade is ours for reasons that no one quite remembers.
One reason might be that the staging post is convenient to Dunkin for early morning coffee and donuts. However, another myth is it mitigates the damage that Chris Boeckel and his rag-tag army of ankle-biters can do. To explain: Every year the parade organizers request that candy is not thrown from vehicles. And, every year, under Chris’ tutelage, an army of children appear in the midst of the fire trucks hurling candy at unsuspecting parade-goers.
At least by being at the back, the chaos is mitigated — somewhat.
Memorial Day Town Picnic
The picnic returned to its regular date this year and was a great success. The glorious weather created a big turnout. Fun was had by young and old alike: music, dancing, tug-of-rope, egg toss, T-shirts, burgers, beer, and ice cream. Finally, the young and young-at-heart were cooled off at the end of the day with a hose-down from a fire truck.
On behalf of Essex Fells, the fire department sends its sincere thanks to the following and for the generous donations that make the picnic possible at zero cost to the taxpayers.
- Thumanns for providing the burgers, hot dogs, and salads
- ShopRite in West Caldwell for buns, watermelons, and condiments
- Verona Inn for providing the beer
- The hardworking team at EF DPW (Essex Fells Department of Public Works) for preparing the Green and logistical help
- EFPD for assistance in closing the roads
Newer families who moved into town in the last few years may not be aware of these three annual events. They may want to take note for next year to fully participate.
About Essex Fells Fire Department:
EFFD is an all-volunteer department that has served the people of Essex Fells continuously since 1903. Our members are your neighbors. We have a long tradition of service in the community, both as first responders and through our leadership of the annual Memorial Day Picnic, open space clean-up days, fire safety education for our children, and a number of other services.
Our membership of over 40 trained, active firefighters responds whenever they are available to a wide variety of calls for assistance, including fires, smoke and CO alarm activation, motor vehicle accidents, downed power lines, flooded basements, and rescues (including a cat in a tree in 2017). We also support our neighboring towns' fire departments whenever we receive the call for aid.
We are devoted to providing the best possible protection and assistance to the people of Essex Fells. We dedicate thousands of hours annually to training and equipment maintenance so that we are ready to respond in the most professional manner possible, each and every time we are called into action.
Interested in serving your community? We are always looking for new members to volunteer in all capacities. There are roles for individuals of all ages in the department. If you're interested in volunteering, please reach out today or email email@example.com to find out more.
Interested in helping financially? The Essex Fells Fire Company is the organization that raises funds to support the activities of EFFD. Your support is most welcome and very much appreciated. Credit Card via PayPal or check to Essex Fells Fire Company, 255 Roseland Ave., Essex Fells.