The Montclair Times from Montclair, New Jersey on September 22, 2016 · A5
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The Montclair Times from Montclair, New Jersey · A5

Montclair, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Thursday, September 22, 2016
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THE MONTCLAIR TIMES northjersey.comtownsmontclair NEWS THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2016 A5 Buzz Aldrin has given us the moon BY PAUL J. FISHMAN FOR THE MONTCLAIR TIMES A Montclair resident, Paul J. Fishman is the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. The following are excerpts of Fishman's speech on Friday, Sept. 16, for the dedication of Buzz Aldrin Middle School. Fishman's speech is posted in its entirety on When I told my colleagues and my friends that I had been invited to give some remarks this morning, everyone had exactly the same reaction: "Oh my God. That's so cool. You have to do it. Can I come?" And then those sentiments, those feelings, that excitement was almost immediately followed by the inevitable follow-up questions: "Why? Do your kids go to Mt. Hebron? Are you in the space program? Do you loiow Buzz? Why did they ask you?" And I have to admit, those are all pretty good, insightful questions, perhaps born of legitimate curiosity, but perhaps driven simply by insane jealousy. It's hard to know. But that doesn't matter. My friends are entitled to the answers. So, in order, here they are: Did my kids go to this school? My kids went to Bradford elementary school, which feeds into this middle school. My kids' favorite subject is math, at which they are both pretty proficient, and, as you know from Dr. Sacks, if you didn't know it before, this is the STEM middle school. And we are literally four blocks from my house. So, did my kids go here? No, this is Montclair, so of course they didn't . . . This school was simply too close and too easy for me and my wife. Next question: Do I have something to do with the space program? The U.S. Department of Justice has broad jurisdiction ... The best credential I have is that I was briefly on a working group looking at how to regulate the use of unmanned drones. But I don't think that's close enough. But the last question - do I know Buzz Aldrin? That's a harder question to answer. In its most narrow sense, answered literally, in the way most people mean it, and in the way I've been trained as a lawyer and a prosecutor -the answer to that question is also "no." But in a very real way, much as I presumptuously feel like I can call him Buzz, the answer to that question is "yes." Since he first entered our collective consciousness 47 years ago, so many Americans - indeed so many peo ple around the world - have been spectators at, cheerleaders for, and witnesses to a most extraordinary life lived by a most remarkable man. In the summer of 1969 ... it was a night that I, and I suspect many of you, will never forget . . . the images of those two ungainly figures tottering across the surface of the moon - the accomplishment that was - the perseverance, the dedication, the focus, the talent that it took to get those men there, and back -has become for me almost increasingly incomprehensible. The audacity of President Kennedy's promise in 1961 to get us to the moon before the decade was over, and the grandeur of the accomplishment that fulfilled that promise, all seem now so impossible to have happened. And given the state of our national and worldwide politics, what seems to me today to be most elusive of all is the virtually universal pride, exuberance, and warmth that accompanied that walk and the splash down that followed - feelings that respected no boundaries of party, or borders, or ideology. Although maybe the Russians were just a little upset. . . Well, as I said, I just met Buzz Aldrin, so I'm no expert. But after 34 years practicing law, with 22 of them in public service with the Department of Justice, I have a pretty good handle on public service - what it means, why people do it, and what it takes. So let me just note a couple of things about Buzz's career. When he graduated from Montclair High School, he turned down a scholarship to MIT to enroll at West Point - not necessarily the conventional choice for someone who wanted to be an engineer. But so soon after the end of World War II, it was a choice that resonated as a decision to put country first. He graduated from West Point - 3d in his class - and became a fighter pilot in Korea. Again, not the easy flight path. And then, in 1963, after earning his doctorate at MIT while still in the military, he was chosen as an astronaut. Now there are a lot of us here who, one way or another are in public service. Many of you are teachers, or principals, or superintendents - or elected officials, or college presidents, or prosecutors. There is nothing like public service - the chance to give back to your community, to protect it, to make it more beautiful, to help prepare students for what lies ahead of them is noble and gratifying in ways that can't always be described. And it always sticks in my craw when people denigrate who government workers are and what they do. . . .To do what he did, to make the choices he made, to decide to serve in the way that he decided to serve - that is something very wonderful indeed. To fly combat missions, shooting down MIGs in Korea. To sit in a small capsule, knowing that the only way you will get to the moon is after a series of powerful, fiery explosions generate 7.5 million tons of thrust right under your butt. And then, when you get there - to land, get out, take a walk where no one has ever, ever been, get back in the vehicle, make sure you can dock, and get back - that takes something special. We all know, from Apollo 1 and 13, and the Challenger and the Columbia, those risks and the tragedies are real, and we remember those heroes today who are no longer with us. For them, and for Buzz, to embrace that, to take those chances - not just willingly but eagerly - to have the curiosity and the moxie to take your knowledge and experience and make ours that much richer - to dedicate your life and your career to that is truly remarkable. And then, to follow that up with a second career as a prolific author of children's books, three memoirs, some science fiction; a continuing worldwide tour touting the prospect of missions to Mars (last week in Nepal, next week in Australia). And - in perhaps your bravest outing of all - you took a turn on "Dancing with the Stars" at the age of 80. Buzz, you continue to set an example every day of living life to the fullest. Last night, on my way home from work ... I swung around to Lorraine, so I could drive right behind this school . . . At just about 8 o'clock, there was the moon - big, bright, and full sitting right above the roof of the Buzz Aldrin Middle School. As if the moon itself was endorsing and blessing what we celebrate today. And do know what I thought of? Near the beginning of what is almost everybody's favorite Christmas movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey says to Mary, his future wife, played by Donna Reed: "What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon, Mary." Buzz - you have had a wonderful life and ours is richer and more wonderful too, because you lassoed and gave us the moon. PHOTO COURTESY OF HACKENSACKUMC MOUNTAINSIDE Buzz Aldrin toured HackensackUMC Mountainside hospital on Friday, Sept. 16. Buzz FROM Al when he entered the school accompanied by Christina Korp, his "mission control director," or aide. They included interim Schools Superintendent Ron Bolandi, members of the Man on the Moon Committee, and talk show host and Montclair resident Stephen Colbert, who greeted Aldrin but did not stay long for the indoor ceremony. After the screening of the documentary, "Montclair's Man on The Moon," Aldrin was introduced into the auditorium to the theme music from "Star Wars." Following an introduction by Principal Jill Sack, Aldrin took the stage, where he spoke for more than 15 minutes covering his childhood to his days in the space program. At one point, he mentioned Mount Hebron as the place where he started focusing on his studies. "I did take it to heart, and this is where I really began to excel," recalled Aldrin. The festivities continued outside, where most of the school's 660 students stood to witness the renaming ceremony. Others in attendance included members of the Township Council and Board of Education, state and Essex County officials, and parents of students and other adults excited to see the legendary astronaut in their midst and the school getting his name. One of them was Jonathan Alter, who also appeared in the documentary shown during the indoor assembly. "People will remember Buzz Aldrin as one of the great figures in human history, and they will always associate him with Montclair, New Jersey" said Alter to The Times. He gave credit to several people in town for the school being renamed, including Mark Porter, The Montclair Times' editor. Things got started with the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Montclair High School freshman Janie Ziemacki and a performance by Hillside School's Drums of Thunder. Before the school's new name was unveiled, several speakers paid tribute to Aldrin and to The Man on The Moon Committee, the group of residents formed to get the school renaming accomplished. They included U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, a Montclair resident (see speech at left), Mayor Robert Jackson, Essex County Freeholder Brendan Gill, and BOE member Joe Kavesh, all Montclair natives like Aldrin. Annin Flag Co. executive Bob Caggiano, who was raised in Montclair, presented to Aldrin an American flag that flew in Normandy, France, during the 70th anniversary of D-Day. After the unveiling, there were other trips that Aldrin had to make. BUZZING AROUND Aldrin came to HackensackUMC Mountainside Hospital for the ribbon-cutting of the hospital's new motherbaby unit. A plaque was also unveiled, noting that Aldrin was born in 1930 in what was known as Mountainside Hospital. HUMC Mountainside was the lead sponsor of the renaming. Later that evening, at the Commonwealth Club on Northview Avenue, there was a celebration for the school's dedication titled "Party on the Moon . . . Like It's 1969," where Aldrin appeared and spoke. It was also a fundraiser for the school. As Aldrin was leaving the Commonwealth Club, someone told him to look up in the sky, where he was able to behold a harvest moon shining down on Montclair and on the school with his name. Email: SLEEP LIKE A BABY. S H I FM AN MATTRESS SALE SAVE 35-50 PLUS UP TO $ 4 0 0 Limited Time Only THE FINEST HANDMADE MATTRESSES IN THE WORLD Models Starting at $159 ea. pc. CRYSTAL Extra Firm Quilt SUGG. RETAIL SALE TwinEa.Pc. $520 $289 Full Ea. Pc. $710 $389 Queen Set $1,470 $799 King Set $2,430 $1,349 JADE Extra Firm Plush Quilt SUGG. RETAIL SALE Twin Ea. Pc. $730 $399 Full Ea. Pc. $930 $519 Queen Set $1,970 $1,099 King Set $3,160 $1,749 SAPPHIRE Luxury Quilt SUGG. RETAIL SALE TwinEa.Pc. $1,010 $569 Full Ea. 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