Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Freedom From Controversy?

The Brits got it right

If Norman Rockwell were alive and working today he could use Amherst as a model for a fifth freedom:  "The Freedom From Controversy." 

Only he would use Amherst as an example of how not to go about it.

Last August 27 the Amherst Select Board pocket vetoed flying the 29 commemorative flags on 9/11.  Within days it made news in both the Gazette and Springfield Republican and our local TV stations.

The Republican/MassLive article was picked up and prominently displayed on New York based September 11th Families' Association website where it was spotted by Fox News, which led to an appearance on their highly rated "Fox and Friends" a week before the sad anniversary.

This year, apparently, they are not taking any chances:

Click to enlarge/read


Walter Graff said...

Larry this town is run by commie intellectual socialists who only believe George Bush was evil so anything associated with him is to be ignored or downplayed. As far as they are concerned 9/11 was Bush's fault so to commemorate it would mean giving honor to him.

Anonymous said...

Your so very clear and simple perspective is really quite impressive. Can you name names?

Anonymous said...

Walter, forget the flags. Try flying a few commas now and then, instead.

"...commie intellectual socialists..." I take offense to that. We are Marxist pseudo-intellectual Marxists.

By the by, how can one be a commie socialist, anyway?

Walter Graff said...

Oh and both attacks on the WTC where because of American involvement in Israel and little more. But it sure is fun to blame Bush for everything. I think the current president is still blaming him.

Anonymous said...

What exactly does "after approval"

What are the criteria for approval?

Anonymous said...

Actually in Saudis Arabia

Anonymous said...

Speaking of grammer, Walter, how about using "were" instead of "where"?

Anonymous said...

Note to world, Amherst will commemorate 9/11, as it has done every single year. Call the fire station to find out the time of the ceremony if you would like to attend. All our town officials will be there! Don't get fooled into thinking Amherst doesn't care.

Larry Kelley said...

The two locals who dubbed the American flag a "symbol of terrorism, death, fear and destruction" probably will not attend.

Anonymous said...

First let me preface my remarks by saying that I am making them as a private citizen. They in no way meant to express the opinion of the Amherst Fire Department, IAFF Local 1764, or the officers and members of either organization.

its true, fire department will have a ceremony to remember the 9/11 attacks and those who were murdered that day, including 343 of our brother firefighters as well as those who continue to die each and every year from 9/11 related illnesses (over 30 since 1/1/13 alone). The ceremony is open to the public and all are welcome to attend. This has happened every year since 2002 and will continue to happen each and every year forever as we in the fire service understands the meaning of two words that were often heard in the days, weeks, and months following September 11, 2001. Those words are NEVER FORGET. That said, it seems that if it were not for the fire department and Mr. Kelley there would be no remembrance of that fateful day whatsoever in Amherst. This saddens and frustrates me. I find it somewhat unsettling that the Select Board has now decided to refuse to even talk about flying the flags on this most solemn of days and yet some of their members have and will attend the ceremony at the firehouse. I have remained silent about this since moving from another department to Amherst ten years ago. However this has always been an odd contrast to me. I feel that the board should somehow muster the courage to do the right thing.

Jeff Parr

"I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman."

Edward F. Croker - Chief of Department
Fire Department of the City of New York 1899 - 1911


Anonymous said...

You collecting signatures?

Larry Kelley said...

Not yet.

Still have not given up on this year's anniversary.

Anonymous said...

"Oh and both attacks on the WTC where because of American involvement in Israel and little more."

Yeah, you're right.

America always gets in the way with that.

Anonymous said...

"Note to world, Amherst will commemorate 9/11, as it has done every single year. Call the fire station to find out the time of the ceremony if you would like to attend. All our town officials will be there! Don't get fooled into thinking Amherst doesn't care."

No,AFD cares.
The select board and town officials just show up. If they cared they would have at the very least brought it up for discussion.

Dr. Ed said...

To say that the 9-11 atrocities occurred because of our support for Israel -- the only true democracy in the region -- is like saying the Klu Klux Klan did the atrocious stuff it did in the South in the 1960's because of the easy availability of gasoline and bed linen.

No. The Klan would have been the racist schmucks they were even without burning crosses and "pointy white hats for their pointy heads" -- and even if we permitted all the Jews to be "driven into the sea", the IslamoFascists would still hate us. They would hate us for merely being alive...

If anything, 9-11 happened because we discouraged the Mossad from doing what, well, it was able to do...

Anonymous said...

Help me out here:

Where are the ceremonies of remembrance of 9/11 that occur in other communities on 9/11 in the Valley?

One can be grateful to Mr. Kelley and the Fire Department for this particular observance and still feel that Amherst as a community is being unfairly singled out here.

Would we have events for Veterans Day and Memorial Day without specific organizations of volunteers that care about them? Probably not. Is this different from anywhere else? I think not.

I am still at a loss to understand why Amherst residents, like Mr. Kelley, themselves want to promote a stereotype of our town that just doesn't fit the vast majority of us. Been to an Amherst High football game lately? How many people who hate America do you see there?

We salute the flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance because we want to, not because someone has shamed us into it. Isn't that what freedom is all about?

Anonymous said...

I am humbled to honor the loss of the firefighters, paramedics, police officers and civilians that were murdered on 9/11. It is my duty to remember the responders and pay tribute to their selfless sacrifices and awe inspiring heroics. It is my honor to celebrate the memory of the murdered civilians.

Why fly the American Flag on 9/11?

Those heroic firefighters, police officers, paramedics and civilians not only gave their lives in attempts to help others -- they gave every ounce of courage, energy and stamina leading up to their deaths. Not only did Battalion Chief Orior Palmer and his crew die in the South Tower, but they died after running up 37 flights of stairs, after evacuating survivors, after attempting to combat the flames. I can't even imagine what the last sights and thoughts of those responders were. My most selfless day will never be as admirable as their last.

The purpose of Memorial day is to honor all of the Americans who have died while in military service. It is a combination of somber reflection as well as a day of patriotic appreciation.

To a similar extent, Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance is a day meant to honor the memory of the 2,977 people that were murdered on September 11th, 2001. It is a day to mourn, honor and appreciate the lives and contributions of those who died in a moment that has now defined the United States. The responders who died volunteered to do so and I imagine they wouldn't have had it any other way. Many of the responders who lived would have likely traded places with their comrades without hesitation and sacrificed their lives instead. They died with 85 pounds of firefighting gear on their backs, wearing bulletproof vests, and while providing medical care to terribly injured people.

Hoist the American Flag, celebrate their memory, mourn their loss and be proud of the heroics that were displayed that day. Be thankful that there are men and women out there, like Chief Palmer, who are able and willing to run up those stairs into the darkness, choking on smoke, searching for bodies, to come and help people who would not have it in them to do the same for them. The American Flag could fly every day for them for the rest of time and it still wouldn't be enough to honor that type of sacrifice -- one day a year seems pretty reasonable to me.

That is why I fly the American Flag on September 11th.

Perhaps some of you have convincing arguments as to why the American Flag should not be flown on 9/11. Please do share your interpretations on the symbolism and sentiment that you object to. A beautiful part of this nation is that open discourse is encouraged. However, I would be surprised if your abstract academic or intellectual arguments are as convincing to me as the sacrifices that actually were made that day and every day since. So many broken hearts left behind.