Something to remember him by



"Not every young person who signed up for service goes overseas to fight," said Council President Vincent Lo Re Jr. on May 21 when city and state officials joined local residents in honoring Airman Christopher Adorno with the opening of a local restaurant in his name called Christopher's Place. "The fact that he joined and did not know where he was going to be assigned makes him a hero in my eyes."

The ceremony, which was seen as one of a series of events to commemorate Memorial Day, drew state and local officials, as well as members of Adorno's military unit.

"I want my son to be in everybody's home," said Ronald Adorno, who is the proprietor of the newly opened restaurant located at 811 Broadway near 37th Street.

The event featured state Senate and Assembly resolutions, and mayoral and other proclamations in Christopher's honor.

He served as an aviation machinist's mate until his death in a car crash in California last September.

"He was driving back to his base at the Lemoore Naval Air Station in California," Ronald said.

Christopher, one of six siblings, attended Bayonne High School, but got a taste for the military when he attended a Youth Challenge Camp at Fort Dix. The camp was designed to turn high-spirited kids into productive citizens.

Here in Bayonne, Christopher lived his life on the local basketball court. But he took very well to the Youth Challenge Boot Camp offered by the New Jersey National Guard.

"He dressed in a uniform and he learned to keep to schedules," Ronald said. "When he came home, he decided to join the Navy."

Christopher enlisted in the Navy under the military's delayed entry program. He reported to boot camp in Great Lakes, Ill., in May of 2006. After, he attended a machinist's school and graduated in the top of his class.

This was supposed to grant Christopher his choice of assignments. According to Ronald, Christopher intended to request an assignment on the east coast to be near his family.

"We saw him only once after boot camp," Ronald said. "He was a good kid. I went to the site of the car crash. I could see the tracks off the highway and where his car had wrapped around a tree. Out there, towns are 20 miles apart from each other. A truck driver saw his car."

But Ronald said he wanted to turn his family's tragedy into something positive for the residents of Bayonne, and set up a memorial wall in the new restaurant where people can post pictures and messages about family members serving in the military.

Other attendees of the grand opening were state Senator Sandra Cunningham, state assemblymen Anthony Chiappone and L. Harvey Smith, Hudson County Sheriff Juan Perez, Bayonne Mayor Terrence Malloy, and several City Council members.





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