Sunday, February 24, 2013
A Stirring Symbol
Two paramount things the American flag represents -- which I hope we ALL agree on -- is the right of the People to vote on matters both great and small, and the right to petition our government for a redress of grievances.
Tonight both those qualities come in to play, as I go before the Amherst Select Board to request they place the question of flying 29 commemorative flags in the downtown every 9/11 on the upcoming April 9 town election ballot. That way citizens can finally decide this ongoing issue, which annually brings notoriety to the town.
On the night of September 10, 2001 while a pernicious plot against our country was just starting to unfold, the Amherst Select Board voted to allow 29 commemorative flags to fly on only six occasions, some sad, some celebratory.
Six weeks after 9/11 I asked that Select Board to add 9/11 to the permanent days the commemorative flags could fly. They refused, but allowed them up on the first anniversary and again in 2003.
But a change in leadership ushered in a Dark Ages and the flags did not fly again until 2009 under a "compromise" that said they could fly once every three years.
That ridiculous compromise was based on a shameful May16, 2007 two-thirds Town Meeting vote (96-41) against flying the flags on 9/11 -- ever! In 2010 SB Chair Stephanie O'keeffe hatched yet another compromise to allow them to fly every 5th year on "milestone anniversaries".
Tonight the Select Board will take up discussion of a proposal/promise I made to them on September 10, 2012. I'm not a betting man, but I firmly believe they will do the right thing.