Monday, May 28, 2007

Perspective: In One Town, Intersections of Sacrifice

THIS long sliver of a town climbs up the western slope of the Meadowlands, where most of its 6,000 residents are packed into a dense hillside grid barely five blocks wide, bound together tightly enough by geography and genealogy that they slip easily into the first-person plural, especially when talking about what has happened to them since the morning of 9/11.

“When we got the call about Michael ...,” Police Capt. Frank Smith started to say at police headquarters one day recently, and then his voice caught, just the way many other voices in town do when the subject is Michael A. Schwarz, the latest local casualty of the war in Iraq, a war that has taken far more from Carlstadt than anyone ever expected.

The call about Lance Corporal Schwarz — which came last November when the marine, all of 20 years old and not far removed from the roller hockey team Captain Smith coached, was killed by a sniper in Iraq — followed several other terrible calls in recent years that have left this town, on this Memorial Day, with what feels here like an exceptionally large burden of loss for such a small place to bear.

Read the rest at the NY Times