While growing up in the neighborhood adjacent to my high school, having the windows open anytime between August and December meant hearing our marching band either practicing or playing at football games. I don't think anyone in that area felt that it was anything less than one of the coolest aspects of living in suburbia. But these days, who knows ...? If the people living there now are anything like some neighbors of Naval Weapons Station Earle in Middletown, NJ, they may be filing noise complaints!
People living near the navy base's waterfront location can reportedly hear the “Call to Colors” followed by “The Star-Spangled Banner” being played when the base raises its flag at 8 a.m. and also during a similar ceremony at sunset when the flag is lowered. And some are none too pleased, asking officials at the naval station to turn down the volume.
Initially, a few residents thought the sound was from other neighbors, and as a result, at least one called the police multiple times to report it. Ugh. The complaints range from the irate, like this gem from one resident named Bob Wille, who says, "Why should someone not in the service have to wake up to reveille?" to the more rationale remarks of Matt Di Benedett who has lived near the base for almost 30 years. He emphasized, “We’re only asking them to drop the volume. We’re not against anything.”
I'm not really sure what the big deal is. How did these people not realize they were living near a naval base when they moved in? Furthermore, is it really that big a deal to hear instrumental music played during reasonable hours when most people are awake anyway? And I can think of sounds that are a helluva lot worse to have to endure -- construction, domestic spats, car alarms going off nonstop, etc.!
But the annoyed neighbors will be happy to hear that base spokesman Michael Brady says the new broadcast system that was installed during the summer (after the old address system had been broken for at least three years) is now being tested with sound meters in the nearby communities to adjust the volume to an appropriate level.
In the meantime, there are some people who have no problem with the "noise," like Andrew Lucina, a Korean War vet who has lived near the base for 55 years, who said he looks forward to hearing the music each day and doesn’t feel sorry for those who might be sleeping at that time. He elaborated:
Play it as loud as they want. I was willing to die for that flag. I’m not going to complain about "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Really, I'm not seeing why anyone would!
How do you feel about this controversy?
Image via sdunlvrebel/Flickr