Coming on the heels of a gubernatorial visit marking the one year since Superstorm Sandy put Belmar on its heels, hundreds of residents braved the wind and chill to light a candle at the beach, a symbolic gesture against the darkness that the storm left in its wake.
Mayor Matt Doherty led the short ceremony -- an event that was repeated up and down the New Jersey shore in communities hard hit by Sandy.
Doherty and members of the municipal governing body were joined by Assemblyman Dave Rible, who grew up in Belmar, state Sen. Bob Singer and Freeholder Gary Rich, each trying to put the day into historical perspective.
Doherty talked about the new boardwalk, symbolic to the a town that has had one in place since the 1800s, the cleanup of Silver Lake and Lake Como, about the beginning stages of dunes building project on the north side of town and of the coming beach replenishment being done by the Army Corps of Engineers.
“We have made tremendous strides as a community over the last year,’’ Doherty said. “The most important thing we can do as a community, is to remember to stay together.’’
The event was punctuated by a stunning performance of “Amazing Grace” by three students from Belmar Elementary School. Local musician Danny White also sang a song written following the storm about Belmar.