Monday, August 19, 2013

Opportunity Lost?

Last year at the 8/27 Amherst Select Board meeting Chair Stephanie O'Keeffe did not even allow the board, our executive branch, to vote on the request to fly the 29 commemorative flags in the downtown on 9/11.

The town routinely flies the flags, purchased in the summer of 2001,  on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Flag Day, July 4th, Patriots Day and yes, even Labor Day (coming soon).

But in her closing remarks she was "sure Mr Kelley would bring this back next year, and he should do that."

And even Select Board member Aaron Hayden (who always votes "No") also remarked that night "This is an opportunity for us to really sort of put our heads together and be thoughtful, out loud, about important issues -- clearly important issues -- so I do appreciate that opportunity."

Now it's beginning to look like the issue will not even be allowed on the agenda for the SB 8/26 meeting, the last meeting prior to that awful anniversary. The old ignore it and hope it goes away routine.

So much for appreciating "that opportunity." 


Walter Graff said...

I equate it to your view of the perosn who spoke of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in another thread.

Everyone has their agendas and often we cant conceive that others can't understand ours. My work in NY got cancelled the morning of 9/11 because of the attacks. I even heard one of the jets fly low over my apartment but who would have figured.

Then I got a call from Washington to go down there and document the event. Four four days strait I had to see a lot of heroes at work, track down and talk to wives and family of those missing, walk streets that were now vacant as southern NYC was shut below 14th St.

When it was all over I'd find out that seven people I knew were lost. It was a tragedy no doubt. Flying flags in town isn't going to take away what we all know.

I'd almost rather Amherst not fly flags since so many people here are more concerned about political consequences in life instead of issues of human loss and empathy.

That's what happens in a town of intellectuals. They never learn to feel. That comes in reading a book for them or enjoying a politically slanted article in the NY Times.

Frankly I'd rather wear the shirt of the firehouse that I knew all too well and remember the remember lives of the firefighters lost that day rather than seeing some flag hanging in town because of a date.

A bunch of flags on municipal poles lost their flavor for me with all the holidays they already represent.

That's my agenda. Might not be yours. Always room for both in this world thankfully. Often not much room for thought outside what the consider the "norm" in Amherst unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I prefer to fight fire with fire. I would threaten to file a 1st Amendment suit against the town if they fly them on Labor Day as that is a political holiday recognizing labor unions. By flying them on Labor Day but not 9-11, they are violating content neutrality rules regarding speech.

And as they are more afraid of the public employee unions than the we-hate-America crowd, you will see the 9-11 flag display go back up.