All veterans who went to Belmar last year could get on the beach for free. That’s not the case this year, after a town policy has been changed so that it only grants free beach access to disabled veterans.
“We owe veterans everything,” Belmar Business Administrator Ed Kirshenbaum said on Thursday, the 75th anniversary of the Allies’ D-Day landing on the beaches of Normandy, which began the U.S.-led march toward Berlin and victory in World War II.
But the borough’s first obligation is to uphold the law of the land, Kirshenbaum added. And, he said, for veterans on New Jersey’s beaches, that means limiting free access to those rendered disabled as a result of their service, rather than to all veterans, as the borough had done in the past.
So, Kirshenbaum said, when a review of Belmar’s policies by the incoming administration found that the borough’s beach access policy had been in violation of the state statute by granting free access to all military veterans, the policy was changed to limit free access only to disabled vets.
The change in the beach policy was criticized by Belmar’s former mayor, Matt Doherty, who had led the expansion of free access to all veterans during his eight years in office, and disputed the assertion that the all-veterans policy had been in violation of the statute.