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Chatham Tough Published on: April 7, 2020

We Chathamites treasure happy memories of 4th of July celebrations, Fishawack Festivals, holiday gatherings at the Gazebo, CHS victories in sports.

However, sadder memories exist in the shadows – one of a mother on my street, along with other parents, having to walk to the Chatham telegraph office (now the Taste of Asia restaurant) during World War II to receive telegrams informing them that their sons serving in the military had been killed in action.  Members of Chatham’s American Legion would be on hand with the grief-stricken parents at the Chatham train station to receive the coffins of the fallen soldiers.

The Chatham Fire Department tragically lost beloved firefighters in the line of duty – Doyle Butler in 1941 and Lewis Sheats in 1993.  

On 9/11, the Chathams lost thirteen dear residents in a terrorist attack, a memory that will haunt us forever.

In October 2009, Chatham was rocked by the senseless murder of Father Edward J. Hinds, pastor of St. Patrick Church. 

Through it all – neighbors reached out and comforted each other as best they could.  A strong fellowship and faith helped our community to somehow pick up the pieces and go forward.

During these uncertain days of the Coronavirus crisis, the signs of early spring are blossoming around us.  We see neighborhood kids riding bikes, playing street hockey, creating amazing chalk designs on the sidewalks.  Their laughter and happy voices are music to our ears. We adults call out “take care” and “be well” to each other, even to strangers.  We affirm our belief that we will get through this crisis. We are Jersey Tough. We will draw our courage from these earlier Chatham residents who survived the dark days of World Wars, the Depression, the Cold War tensions.  We will channel their fighting spirit.

– Liz Holler

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