The City of Sea Isle, along with the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance (SJTSA), dedicated a “Pink Remembrance Tree” to Casey Feldman as part of Sea Isle City’s Community Day, Saturday, May 1st at Noon in front of the police department on JFK Boulevard. Adorned with some 1400 pink lights, the tree is visible upon entering the island from the bridge and will be lit every night from dusk till 5:00 a.m. A plaque at the base of the tree is inscribed with Casey name and dates and serves as a memorial to all who have lost their lives in traffic accidents.
Mayor Len Desiderio said, “Mr. and. Mrs. Feldman have worked very hard to raise awareness to pedestrian safety and it is my privilege to honor the memory of their daughter in the hopes of keeping the residents and visitors of Sea Isle safe.” Speaking on behalf of the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance, Program Manager Teresa Thomas announced their summer safety campaign, stating that Casey’s story and photograph would play a prominent role in pedestrian and traffic safety in the region. “We are adding a human element which we hope reaches people enough that they start to drive more safely.”
The pink tree dedication in Sea Isle City also served as the kickoff for a nationwide effort to decorate trees with pink lights to stand as a memorial to those whose lives have been lost to traffic accidents and as a symbol of traffic safety.
Also speaking at the ceremony were Sea Isle City Chief of Police Thomas D’Intino and Dianne Anderson, Casey’s mother.
Dianne Anderson took the opportunity to express her and Casey’s father Joel Feldman’s appreciation for the dedication of the tree in Sea Isle, stating that Sea Isle City was Casey’s home away home. Casey loved the shore and Sea Isle City in particular, where the family has owned a home for over 17 years. Casey was living in Sea Isle during the summer of 2009 and was struck in a crosswalk at an Ocean City intersection on July 17th. Casey wrote about the summer and Sea Isle City in high school essays and her mother took the opportunity to share Casey’s feelings in Casey’s own words by reading excerpts from one of those essays written when Casey was 16 years old:
Summer. Just saying the word, hits me with a barrage of senses. I can almost taste the word, like a half-melted cherry Popsicle on the 4th of July. Or hear it, the sound of the rushing ocean, the seagulls cawing, and crickets chirping, their call audible through the open window, their sound mixing with the whirring of the fan late one hot August night….
Ever since I can remember, we have had a shore house. I can’t remember a 4th of July that hasn’t taken place on the deck of our beach-front shore house in Sea Isle City, New Jersey….
As soon as my last final exam is finished on that thrilling day in mid- June, I’m already packing my bags for “the shore,” and, for the majority of the summer, I’ll call Sea Isle home….
Every day at the shore is special, and every second is a moment in time that I’ll commit to memory and forever cherish…. Summer has a sort of timeless quality, and even though the profound aspects of your life change, it almost seems like, in the summer, time stands still, and all the summer days of my memory merge into one….
Most people share this belief that summer is sort of the time to make memories. When middle-aged adults and parents reminisce about their youth, getting starry-eyed and talking about “the good ol’ days”, often you hear stories of wild nights at summer camp, crazy debacles at the beach, and summer romances…
I can picture myself, even though it makes me cringe to do so, in my forties. Although I have virtually no idea what direction my life will have taken, I know one thing: when life becomes more stressful than fun, and when I have more obligations than vacations, maybe I, too, will daydream about the “good ol’ days;” and those unforgettable summer nights at the beach.
[Note: View more photos from this tree dedication ceremony. See ThinkSafetyCampaign.org and SJTSA.org for more information on the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance's summer safety campaign featuring Casey. Visit PinkRemembranceTree.org to post and view memorials of Casey and others who died in traffic accidents.]