The death of U.S. Army Spc. Jonathan Batista did not only affect his own family. It rocked the entire Kinnelon community, according to Mayor Bob Collins.
So much so that Collins said Thursday the borough decided not to have its own 9/11 memorial ceremony this year.
"Kinnelon had an exceptionally rough year this year," he said.
Collins and Kinnelon Council members were questioned by a resident who has lived in the borough for less than a year but took note of the fact that Kinnelon did not host an event this year while Butler and Bloomingdale hosted their annual Candlelight Walk.
Collins mentioned the special ceremony the borough hosted last year in honor of the tenth anniversary of the event. He also said Kinnelon's roads would not accomodate a walk similar to that of the Candlelight Walk.
But one of the main reasons Collins said the borough decided not to have a 9/11 event this year was because he said the community is still mourning the loss of Batista, who was killed in combat in Afghanistan on July 8.
Batista was killed by small arms fire while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in the Kandahar province. He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, NC and was the recipient of the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal and several other honors.
Batista's body was welcomed home by residents who lined the sides of Kinnelon Road on July 15 before a funeral service and burial at the Our Lady of the Magnificat cemetery.
"I don't know that people have recovered from losing that soldier," Collins said.
While Collins said 9/11 is a day that will never be forgotten in Kinnelon, and noted the steel beam artifact the borough obtained and now displays in the Kinnelon Municipal Building lobby, he said the borough will consider having its own memorial event next year.