Odd juxtaposition: Commemorative flag, Christmas decoration, main flag at half staff
No, the seldom seen 20 some-odd commemorative American flags are not up in town center to commemorative Martin Luther King Day. They are flying to herald Inauguration Day.
On the night of September 10, 2001 -- The Eve of Destruction -- the Amherst Select Board voted 4-1 to allow 29 commemorative flags to fly on six "holidays" and once every four years for Inauguration Day (and yes, amazingly, they even flew for President Bush's two terms).
9/11 has become a seventh infrequent occasion for the commemorative flags to fly, only once every five years. As some of you may remember, this past 9/11 the town received international notoriety for not flying the flags to remember the most historic day of our lifetime.
The main flag is currently at half-staff to mourn the passing of Pfc. Antonio Syrakos of Lynn, who died January 10, 2013 in an off base accident near Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Governor Patrick routinely lowers the flag for any state resident in the military who dies, be it in combat on foreign soil, or an accident back here in America.
Another even more sobering statistic of the casualties caused by war: This past year Army suicides outpaced military combat casualties in Afghanistan.