There are many concerns about the impact of the closing of Fort Monmouth on our area, most of them dealing with economics and job loss — and rightly so.

I come from an entirely different perspective. I have been a teacher and principal of Memorial School in Eatontown for 45 years, and our school system has been responsible for the education of the military dependents from Fort Monmouth for all those years.

Though we have experienced a significant loss in numbers over the years, what we have lost in our school community is far more significant than just the numbers of students.

Our military students and their families added a dimension to our school community that cannot be replaced. They brought cultural experiences from travels around the world and a rich diversity to our school population.

Most notable through the years was the seamless meshing of the local and military students. Never in my years of experience was there any division or dissension. Kids were kids, and it didn't matter whether they lived on the post or in the local community. We were one school, one student body.

Our military student population is almost gone now and, sadly, we have lost a wonderful part of our school.

On behalf of all of us at Memorial School, I salute and thank all the military dependents and families who have been part of our school for many years. They have enriched our school community and will be missed.

Ronald S. Danielson

Principal
Memorial Middle School
Eatontown, NJ