"About Us" - Who are we?
We are a small group of proud residents who gather together in 1972 and made a commitment to pursue an idealistc quest that we believed would unify the community of Cherry Hill in a proud awareness of all the things that were meaningful and positive in our township. We wanted to reverse all of the negative news media hype that was being spewed out to the general public about the poor character of the families and identities living in Cherry Hill in the early 1970's.
Under the negative cross-fire of the news media, a small group of concerned townspeople met and came up with a very "idealistic plan" to reverse this negative perception of Cherry Hill by the news media and general public! Our plan was to unify the townspeople and our diverse community by organizing positive events throughout the township. It was agreed by all of us that Cherry Hill Township needed something "special" and "challenging" that would enable us to pursue the ambitious goals we were setting before us.
We wanted to highlight the positive attributes of the many community organizations, businesses and ethnic groups that comprised the Township of Cherry Hill. We needed something very special and extra ordinary that would bring our divided and diverse community proudly together.
What we came up with is that a two-mile section of Chapel Avenue in Cherry Hill would be converted into a continuous avenue of blossoming cherry trees. A cherry blossom avenue stretching for two-miles will definitely help us to achieve our idealistic goals! The full community would be drawn to this avenue to see the cherry blossoms and would participate in an annual celebration of the Township of Cherry Hill.
In the Spring of every year - the returning cherry blossoms would inspire positive activities thoughout the township. A community "Cherry Blossom Parade" would be organized for the townspeople to march under a beautiful canopy of cherry blossoms that were lined up on Chapel Avenue. The Cherry Blossom Parade participants would reflect a "grand display" of all that was meaningful and good in Cherry Hill. The positive attributes of the Township of Cherry Hill will then be seen by the genaral public and news media.
In addition to creating a two-mile avenue of continuous cherry trees -- we would encourage everyone to plant cherry trees throughout the township! The success of this effort would result in a growing canopy of beautiful cherry blossoms spreading throughout the township. The annual arrival of millions of cherry blossoms throughout Cherry Hill will become a visible beacon for the townspeople to join together! Cherry blossoms arrivals will become the common denominator for the full community to relate to! The townspeople will join together annually to celebrate Cherry Hill Township under a canopy of cherry blossoms.
Our group found the "special" and "challenging" catalyst we were looking for! In time the cherry blossoms would blanket over the community and proudly rally the townspeople in an annual community-wide celebration of Cherry Hill.
In the 1970's -- with the support of Mayor John Holden and Council members we were very successful in pursuing our idealistic goals! Every year shade trees were removed from Chapel Avenue and replaced with cherry trees -- block by block. It would take years to completely line Chapel Avenue with blossoming cherry trees! This was a difficult challenge and we knew it! Thirty-nine (39) years later, only 17 shade trees remain on Chapel Avneue's two-mile avenue of cherry trees. They must be removed to complete this challenging quest!
The first Cherry Blossom Parade became a reality on May 6, 1973! The community marched proudly on Chapel Avenue for the next twenty years. (1973 -1992). Unfortunately it ended because of finances and the lack of support from the community and political leaders to raise the necessary funds to keep it going.
The original ideals, to unify Cherry Hill, were never abandoned by the townspeople who came up with this idealistic quest! After the unexpected collapse of the Cherry Blossom Parade and Festival -- Cherry Hill's Firefighters continued the tradition of planting cherry trees every year on Chapel Avenue with the hope that one day the parade and festival would return to Cherry Hill. The dedication of Cherry Hill Firefighters, throughout the years, resulted in the planting of 1427 Kwanzan cherry trees in the community of Cherry Hill.
From 1993 to 2001 -- with the exception of new cherry tree plantings by Cherry Hill Firefighters -- community cherry blossom activities to honor Cherry Hill did not exist! The cherry blossoms came and went -- with no fanfare from the township leaders or the townspeople to celebrate their annual arrival. This was about to change when the horrific events of September 11, 2001 brought about a wave of patriotism throughout America.
Chapel Avenue's blossoming cherry trees were again called upon, by our group, to reflect Cherry Hill's patriotism! We placed American flags and yellow ribbons onto the blossoming cherry trees to remember what happened on September 11, 2001. Our gesture was to pay homage to the 2996 innocent victims that perished on that fateful day and to show proud support for our military and our great Nation.
The American flags and yellow ribbons on the blossoming cherry trees created an impressive two-mile long patriotic avenue! Chapel Avenue would again call on the townspeople to come together -- this time to observe the annual anniversary of September 11, 2001! We named our new activity - Cherry Hill's "9-11 Remembrance & Patriotic Gratitude" event!
As proud Americans the full Township of Cherry Hill would have an opportunity to pay a solemn "9-11 Remembrance" homage under a canopy of cherry blossoms, American flags and yellow ribbons every year! Chapel Avenue's cherry blossom avenue is the very best Cherry Hill has to offer to reflect our remembrance of 9-11, our patriotism and love of country.
Cherry Hill's Firefighters and the American Legion Post 372 proud War Veterans are the sponsor of this new community-wide activity. These two organizations have presented this "9-11 Remembrance" event to the townpeople of Cherry Hill and surrounding communities for the past nine years and sadly, received very little support from the community.
The American Legion Post 372 war veterans have committed themselves to adorn American flags and yellow ribbons to the hundreds of blossoming cherry trees every year in remembrance of September 11, 2001 and to show support for our military. Our Firefighters have promised to perpetuate the planting of cherry trees on Chapel Avenue.
Today -- both groups work together for the remembrance of September 11, 2001. Their bond forever insuring that Chapel Avneue's patriotic cherry tree lined route will be maintained for future generations of townspeople and proud Americans to remember September 11, 2001. Our country must "never forget" what happened on that horrific day when 2996 innocent lives were taken by terrorist and the after effects that forever changed our great Nation.
(Additional Information - "ABOUT US" can be read on the "History" pages)
Firefighters, American Legion Post 372 Commander and Legion Chaplain attending the service for the victims of September 11, 2001 in the month of April, 2010.
Townspeople, Firefighters and War Veterans surround the "Flag of Honor" and the "Memorial Wreath" at the "9-11 Remembrance" ceremony.
Every year since 1973 -- Cherry Hill's Firefighters have continued the community tradition of planted cherry trees on Chapel Avenue!
One of several Cherry Hill's Fire Trucks that attended the "9-11 Remembrance" event. Cherry Hill Police monitor the traffic flow along Chapel Avenue at this event.
Cherry Hill Firefighters display a gigantic American flag over the "9-11 Remembrance" 10th Anniversary ceremony.
Cherry Hill's Firefighters group together at this year's planting of fourteen addtional cherry trees on Chapel Avenue.