EDITED: Included are comments from 11th Street neighbor.
PHOTO: Barbara Gonzales (holding sign) of the Bayshore Tea Party and some of her neighbors show support on Highway 36 for the playing of the National Anthem at the Naval Weapons Station Earle.
MIDDLETOWN, NJ – Neighbors complained recently to officials at Naval Weapons Station Earle about music being played loudly at 8:00 a.m. each morning.
Bob Wille, an Earle neighbor, was quoted in a recent Asbury Park Press article, “Why should someone not in the service have to wake up to reveille?’” Mr. Wille and some of his neighbors on 11th Street in Belford have asked officials at the naval station to turn down the volume.
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The neighbors say they first noticed the loud music early last summer. The naval station had installed a new emergency address system to replace one that broke down three years ago. One woman called Middletown Police three times before realizing the music was coming from Earle.
U.S. Military installations around the world play “Call to Colors” then raise the flag to the music of the Star-Spangled Banner.
At sunset, a similar ceremony accompanies the lowering of the flag.
Reviews are mixed. Some neighbors like the music playing and others feel it is an intrusion on their peace and quiet. Most calls to Earle about the music have been positive.
Officials at Earle have been testing the system with sound meters in the Belford and Leonardo neighborhoods to adjust the volume to an appropriate level.
Michael Brady, public affairs officer at Earle, said, according to the Press, “We are concerned about being a good neighbor.” “It’s a balancing act of having it loud enough that people on the base can hear it without projecting beyond our fence.”
It has been silent at the base since Thursday because of a failure of the wireless transmitter in the system. Earle is waiting on a contractor to get the part to fix the new system.
Since the story broke in the press and on television, the base has received several calls of support for the music being played. But even before the story became news, Brady said he had been getting complimentary calls about the music being heard off-base.
One group of neighbors from Leonardo came to 11th Street in Belford to show support for the music. Barbara and Frank Gonzales asked friends and neighbors to join them as they waved flags and a sign that read, “We Support Earle! Play it Loud!” to passing motorists on Highway 36. Several drivers tooted their horn in approval of the message. The group also brought an amplifier and recordings of “God Bless America” and the National Anthem which were continuously played. Barbara Gonzales said it is important to show support for the military and the patriotic music is something that should be enjoyed by everyone. She said, “Play it loud. Play it proud.”
On Saturday morning, an 11th Street woman drove up and asked if the group would be blocking the intersection. When approached by a reporter, the woman, who asked not to be named, said she had no problem with the music supporters. She said they had the right to show their support, but the neighbors also have every right to complain about the music being too loud.
In a phone conversation later with the woman, she expressed concern about any group imposing its will and values on another. She said she had an adopted child from another country and worried that others, might disparage the child’s heritage in their patriotic zeal if she came forward to complain openly.
The Navy will continue to monitor and make volume adjustments when the address system is returned to service after repairs.