By John Burton
SEA BRIGHT — With the sun rising up over the Atlantic Ocean Friday morning, hundreds came out, including many local school-age children, for the groundbreaking of the first of 26 playgrounds to be built to honor the memory of those killed in December during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
In an effort undertaken by the New Jersey Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association and the Foundation to Save the Jersey Shore, The Sandy Ground Project: Where Angels Play, have been raising money to build the playgrounds, which will be located in the tri-state area.
The first playground is being constructed off Ocean Avenue, behind the borough’s volunteer fire department.
The idea for the project is to connect two terrible events, the mass shooting at the school and Super Storm Sandy, with hope and rebuilding, according to William J. Lavin, president of the benevolent association.
“We’re really blessed they chose us for the first,” Mayor Dina Long said.
The 6:30 a.m. ceremony took place as the sun rose. A Fire Department of New York fireboat shot streams of water into the air, children ceremonially dumped sand from colorful sand pails into the Atlantic and fireworks were shot into the sky to mark the occasion.