Thursday, February 21, 2013

Will Commemorative Flags Fly On 9/11?

9/11/11 Amherst Town Common. Photo by Greg Saulmon 

On Monday night 7:30 p.m.  the Amherst Select Board will decide if the people of Amherst can decide -- once and for all -- whether commemorative American flags can fly in the downtown on 9/11 to honor and remember the 3,000 innocent souls lost that awful morning.

By a simple majority vote the five member SB can place a question before the voters on the upcoming April 9 local election ballot.

On May 16, 2007 representative Amherst Town Meeting voted by a shameful 96-41 against allowing the flags to fly every 9/11.

Every September since the day of the attack, I have gone before the Amherst Select Board to request the 29 commemorative flags fly on 9/11.  Only twice since 2003 have they been allowed up under "compromise" proposals, first by SB Chair Gerry Weiss allowing them to fly once every three years, and most recently by Chair Stephanie O'Keeffe alowing them up once every five years, on "milestone anniversaries".

According to this schedule 2016 is the next time the flags will be allowed to fly, on the 15th anniversary.   Last summer the town received a boatload of negative press over the contentious issue.

Kind of ironic that the Select Board will also discuss a request to raise the Tibetan flag ...

RECEIVED: 2/21/13 at 3:47 pm. MEETING TIME: 6:30 pm. LOCATION: Town Room, Town Hall. LIST OF TOPICS: Public Comment. Mt. Holyoke Range Advisory Committee Appointments. Food Truck Regulations Update. FY14 Budget Discussion. Town Manager, Select Board Member and Chair's Reports. Request to Place Question April 9, 2013 election ballot. Untimed Items: Request to raise Tibetan Flag 03-10-13; Warrants for Upcoming Elections; Select Board Meeting Schedule; Parking and Street Closure Requests; New Taxi Driver/Chauffeur Licenses; Special Liquor Licenses; Approve Minutes; and Committee Appointments as presented. Topics the Chair did not reasonably anticipate 48 hours before the meeting.


Anonymous said...

"Last summer the town received a boatload of negative press over the contentious issue."

All engineered by you.

Larry Kelley said...

It is what it is.

Anonymous said...

Will you accept the results of the vote Larry, one way or the other?

Larry Kelley said...

Absolutely! Will they?

(The question will be "non binding".)

Walter Graff said...

Stephanie J. O'Keeffe wrote in a statement,
"By doing so every fifth year on the anniversaries -- we are being inclusive of those who find that most meaningful and appropriate; by not doing so in the other years, we are recognizing those who feel otherwise,"

What a load of horse crap. Does Amherst have to always be so ridiculously inclusive? What a sad sad place. Flip a coin on a street in downtown Amherst and it will land on heads then flip to tails then flip back, and continue to do so until you pick it up. Amherst where everything is a copout. About the only thing that makes sense is the Amherst flags have two sides because some like one side and other like the other and you wouldn't want to offend anyone when it flys.

Anonymous said...

Anything to create interest in a town election that has hitherto been destined to have the resonance in the public awareness of ants farting.

Anonymous said...

Who "feels otherwise"?

Is there a substantial population in Amherst who want to pretend 9/11 never happened?

Or is this just reflexive distaste for American flags?

Larry Kelley said...

The latter.

Anonymous said...

Flag haters or 9/11 deniers. A truly false dichotomy if there ever was one. Couldn't there be some other reason they don't want them? Hmm, think hard.

Anonymous said...

I actually know two individuals, both living in Amherst, who firmly believe that 9/11 was a government generated conspiracy. A truth that "90% of the American public is not ready to handle" as one of them said. To each their own I suppose, but to me, this is deeply concerning on many levels.