To start off, I am going to refer you to this unsettling article I wrote back in June of 2021.

While broadcasting live at 94.3 The Point's Asbury Park Boardwalk Studio, I met a veteran named Tony who lived in Bayonne. He recounted his experience visiting Ocean Grove beach and he was truly upset and hurt that the town forced him to pay for beach access.

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Man's got a point: He fought for this country but he has to pay to utilize the freedoms he fought for? I don't think so.

Well this topic of discussion is not new at the Jersey Shore.

According to NJ.com, mandating that all veterans be given free beach access has been a bill that has been proposed...and then proposed again....and then proposed AGAIN with no major changes since 2015.

As of 2022, the state of New Jersey is giving each individual municipality the power to decide whether or not they will allow veterans to have free beach access.

I think free beach access for veterans should be state mandated across the board but now, there is a new development.

According to NJ.com, a new bill is being proposed that would, "provide free beach access, or reduced fees, for spouses and dependent children of the U.S. military veterans."

Of course I am on board for this.

Instead of explaining why, I am going to let you read what Assemblyman John Catalano and Assemblyman Greg McGuckin had to say because they both hit the nail on the head here:

"The families of those who served our country shouldn't have to struggle with accessing the state's beautiful beaches," said Catalano.

"These men and women have proudly served their country, often at great cost to themselves and their families. This really is a courtesy thanking those who have given so much," added McGuckin.

Well said gentlemen.

But even as I read these two quotes, I am noticing a major flaw in this new proposal.

Why are we working to get permanent free beach access for the family members of veterans before the veterans themselves?

Do both parties deserve free or discounted beach access? Absolutely.

But Tony's story above proves that veterans are still not always receiving the treatment they deserve.

There are a lot of situations where people say "Well, money talks!"

This should not be one of them.

Veterans should not have to pay for beach access in New Jersey (or anywhere for that matter) EVER because they have physically and mentally paid enough.

Free beach access for all or back to the drawing board we go.

Do you agree?

Let me know! As always, feel free to email me at Nicole.Murray@townsquaremedia.com.

While you type, check out some of these insane flooding photos taken right here at the Jersey Shore:

Coastal Flooding Hits the Jersey Shore and in Ocean County, NJ

Here are over 20 photos from January 17, 2022 Coastal Flooding that hit parts of Ocean County, NJ

2021 NJ property taxes: See how your town compares

Find your municipality in this alphabetical list to see how its average property tax bill for 2021 compares to others. You can also see how much the average bill changed from 2020. For an interactive map version, click here. And for the full analysis by New Jersey 101.5, read this story.