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  On Eve of 9/11, Celebratory Fireworks Rattle Nerves
  3/19/2012 3:48:17 PM

  On Saturday evening, many New York and New Jersey residents were preparing for the somber ceremonies of the next day when they heard noises from a different kind of ceremony. At least three firework shows — by Governors Island, in Hoboken and in Florham Park, N.J. — took place the evening before the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. Some unwitting spectators were left wondering whether the fireworks were a terrorist attack or a bizarre expression of patriotism.

“Are we getting bombed or are those fireworks?” an anonymous New Jersey resident wrote in an online forum. “Someone please tell me the fireworks going off have nothing to do with the 11th. I mean … seems … inappropriate?” A Brooklyn resident, Tanya Kalmanovitch, took issue with a Sept. 10 fireworks display on Twitter, writing, “And fireworks for 9/11? That’s just tacky.” (As it turned out, the fireworks had nothing to do with the anniversary.)

In Florham Park, Susan Livesey was so upset to learn that the fireworks she heard from her home on Saturday night were part of a Rotary Club festival that she wrote a letter to the local editor of Patch. “This is NOT the evening to celebrate,” Ms. Livesey wrote. “Hope the organizers will think about all the families touched by this tragedy.”

Closer to the city, the Hoboken Italian Festival celebrated its annual parade with a fireworks show. The festival, which on previous evenings had featured pizza eating contests and a “special tribute to Lady Gaga,” has taken place in mid-September for the past 85 years. Fireworks have accompanied the final procession through Hoboken for the past 22 years. Organizers said they are always mindful of the 9/11 anniversary. Last year, the final procession was scheduled for 9/11, but the fireworks were postponed until the day after.

“Out of respect for 9/11, we don’t shoot on 9/11,” said Frank Desario, one of the organizers, adding that the group has never received complaints for putting on fireworks shows on Sept. 10 or Sept. 12. Mr. Desario said organizers received clearance for the fireworks display from the city of Hoboken and the local Coast Guard, and also informed the 9/11 Hoboken Remembers organizing committee of their plans. “We make sure it’s O.K. with everybody,” Mr. Desario said.

And while some New Yorkers didn’t appreciate the show, others, it seems, did. “Beautiful fireworks happening now over NYC waters, I suppose in tribute of 9/11?” a Brooklyn resident, Carmelo Star, wrote in a Twitter post. “Whatever it’s for, it’s scaring my dog.”

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