I want to first state I served in the United States Air Force and have nothing but the utmost respect for our veterans. With that said, I’ll get to my point.
The article states that there are petitions for the “renaming” of the Wittpenn Bridge on Route 7 connecting Kearny to Jersey City. This bridge was named for H. Otto Wittpenn a former mayor of Jersey City. Wittpenn was also a business owner, Hudson County Supervisor, naval officer of the Port of New York as well as a four-time gubernatorial candidate in New Jersey. In one campaign Wittpenn and Woodrow Wilson were both up for the Democratic nomination for Governor in New Jersey. Wittpenn stepped down to allow for a unanimous party nomination.
I was very displeased to see Mayor Santos ponder the question, “How many people today know who Wittpenn is?” I am very happy with the job the Mayor is doing in Kearny, but I feel he is taking the wrong direction on this. Rather than ask how many people know who (Whitpenn) is, why not propose a curriculum that teaches children local history as well as who the people are that have monuments and bridges named after them in the area. How many people can tell you who the Vice President is or who Schuyler Ave. is named after? Does this mean because no one today knows Arent Schuyler we should look to change the name of Schuyler Avenue?
It seems today there is so much change just for the sake of change! Don’t erase local history because people don’t know who these folks are, teach them what these people did that we decided to honor them in the first place with either a bridge naming, street naming etc. I love our veterans, and the same goes for them. Why would we name a bridge or dedicate a bridge to our fallen heroes if in 50 years someone comes along and says “well, who knows who that is anyway???”