National anthem to play every morning on Seaside boardwalk
Visitors to Seaside Heights will have an opportunity to honor the stars and stripes each morning throughout the summer as they listen to the national anthem played on speakers up and down the popular boardwalk.
Beginning Friday and lasting until Labor Day, officials will play the "Star-Spangled Banner" every morning at 11 a.m. along the entire length of the boardwalk. The initiative is one that the borough has been trying to bring to fruition for at least a year, but problems with the public address system along the boardwalk slowed the process.
“We were trying to get this together last year and sometime around late spring, we had a problem with the wireless (speaker) system that was installed after Sandy," Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz said.
Vaz said the new system was purchased by an outside vendor but installed by borough workers after the old system was destroyed during Superstorm Sandy.
Last year, officials had problems trying to get music to broadcast over the speaker system. Vaz said they even tried holding a smartphone and tablet against the microphone, but the music came through as static.
For several months, the borough has tried to troubleshoot the problem itself, to no avail. Finally, Vaz said, they contacted the company from which the system was purchased and offered to pay for a technician to come to Seaside Heights and assist with the repairs. The technician was able to reinstall some of the pieces and "put the music box back," according to Vaz.
After the repairs were made, Vaz said the borough noticed a post in the Seaside Heights Boardwalk Facebook group from Lori Fitzgerald of Nutley, who mentioned that each morning at 11 a.m. the national anthem is played on the Wildwood Boardwalk and "you can hear a pin drop." The post was even more of an incentive for the borough to follow suit.
Vaz said the national anthem - a version sung by LeAnn Rimes - will play even as businesses and games are open. He said officials can't require anyone to pause while the music is playing, but participation would be welcomed.
"Patriotism isn’t something we can mandate," Vaz said. "We’re hoping anyone who does want to participate will do so, including vendors."
The administrator said a Jersey Shore resident with singing experience has offered to record a version of the "Star-Spangled Banner" for Seaside Heights to use in the future and officials are giving her offer serious consideration.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.