Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Amherst Central Station 10:10 AM


Chief Nelson presents fire fighter Tom Messer with the service star flag that flew at Central Station when he, along with his brother Bill (also Amherst fire fighter), were serving in Afghanistan with Mass Air National Guard.  At the time, AFD also had firefighter  Reid Frailey serving with them in Afghanistan but he has since moved on to Cambridge FD.  Both Frailey and Bill Messer were also given encased service stars.  The cases were designed and built by AFD Captain Bill Dunn

Service star flag flying with three stars May, 2012


Anonymous said...

May they rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

Every player, on every major league team is today wearing an American flag on their cap. Nobody seems outraged...well, maybe a few in Amherst. Richard Marsh

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone be outraged?

Larry Kelley said...

Too "festive".

Mark Robbins said...

Haven't you heard? The flag is a sign of opression...sigh

Anonymous said...

You know, if you stop and break this issue down into simple terms, it is really twisted that it has become an issue at all.

Our homeland was attacked by terrorists. If you recall, the American flag was everywhere in the aftermath of the attack... after all, it IS THE SYMBOL OF OUR COUNTRY. It was the one symbol that bound ALL Americans together, it is the one symbol that that is recognizable to every Caucasian, every African American, every Puerto Rican, every toddler, every senior citizen. It is the symbol that the country rallied around to rebuild our greatest city, and to fortify our collective resolve to show any would be terrorists that they cannot destroy the American spirit.

One man asks the town leaders to fly THE SYMBOL OF OUR COUNTRY FOR ONE MORE DAY PER YEAR... because it means all of those things to the town's people, and they refuse, citing a myriad of weak reasons.

I'm not buying any of their reasons. I believe they refuse to authorize it because the flag does not mean those things to them. I believe that part of them is with the handful of contrarians who were born here, live here, have prospered here, and enjoy a level of freedom unknown in most of the world, and who claim that the flag is a symbol of tyranny. Richard Marsh

Anonymous said...

Larry, this issue begs for an act of civil disobedience. I will stand by you next year, and I have a feeling a lot of others will, and place American flags into all the flag holders in town. I would guess that donations of flags, trucks with cherry pickers, and manual labor would come pouring in. I would guess that every major news outlet would cover it. I would guess that if the SB knew this was coming, they would change their minds next year, and if they don't...well, I'm sure we could all imagine what that would look like on national tv.

Anonymous said...

Shoot... Larry, I forgot to sign my name to that post. Please add it. Richard Marsh

Larry Kelley said...

I'm hoping the Select Board will put the issue to a vote in the upcoming municipal election March 25.

I handed in enough signatures last week to put the question of flying the flags annually on 9/11 before the voters, and I think they were going to put it on the agenda for this coming Monday night meeting to discuss.

As I've twice told them now, I will live by the decision of the voters.

And isn't that the ultimate symbol of Democracy -- and one of the main thing our flag represents?

Anonymous said...

off topic but Whats the weather related issue that's closing Amherst schools tomorrow?

Larry Kelley said...

Slippery floors caused by high humidity.

Walter Graff said...

Hey Larry, next year let's get anyone that want to together to hold up flags. Big ones. The surrounding towns have many patriotic people. Very patriotic people who think what Amherst does is utter bullshit. Oh did you know we have two military bases here too. I know the COs of both. I can bet we cold have a regular crowd for such an event. And since I work for many national Network TV news outlets I'll get every news truck in a hundred miles here on 9/11/13. Let's teach these contrarians what it's like to be an American. Because there really is no other way to say it, fuck Amherst and it's commie socialist ways of doing everything. This town would not be here if it wasn't for that flag. It's time to start making bigger noise.

No school tomorrow because the dew point is making the floors slippery and they are afraid. Today a few people slipped and fell. There is a simple solution to it but I won't tell them. I get a free day with my kids tomorrow. Sure one less snow day.

BTW I stopped by at 9:45am but you weren't there yet. I wanted to shake your hand. Had to go on a class trip by 9 so couldn't stay.

Anonymous said...

He was there at 8:46 a.m. and so was another woman and I. One hour later, he went to AFD. Altogether, four of us held (large) flags. I got a pat on the shoulder and thanks and many thumbs up from drivers.

Walter Graff said...


There is a reason why you got so many pats on your back. It's because you say what many feel but don't have an outlet to say. I've talked to many Amherst residents who all say the same thing about you.

They say what you see and discuss is often true but no one seems to publicly say it or want to admit it. The real test of knowing of truth is when people try to condemn you over what you present. Look how popular your site is by the hits you get and look how people like to attack you, not the info you present. That is always a litmus test telling you that what you feel is true, what you say is right, and that touches a nerve.

The internet has allowed you a place to look at the world around you and comment on it like many other people in the town feel, but who wouldn't comment publicly. And lately I've heard a lot of people make the same comment about you and that comment is "I'd vote for him".

The problem with people like you an me in a town like Amherst is that the dogma likes conformity, silence, and the advantage of hiding behind committees. People like you who ask about the man behind the curtain are attacked. It's fear that drives them. Fear because you are upsetting the boat, and making waves in what they like to look at as a pristine body of water that only reflects but doesn't reflect what they don't want to see.

Amherst is a town that focuses on cognitive intelligence but little on emotional intelligence. Cognitive Intelligence is what is usually IQ. It is the ability to think and reason logically without using the part of the brain concerned with feelings or emotions. Cognitive intelligence does not involve social skills but rather analytical, reading and writing skills. You'll find this is the prominent form of intelligence in a body of intellectuals.

Emotional Intelligence involves the ability to perceive accurately, appraise, and express emotion. It's the ability to access and/or generate feelings when they facilitate thought and the ability to understand emotion and emotional knowledge. It's often said that emotional intelligence is the real intelligence and why IQ tests tell you little about a person real ability. Amherst lacks EI.

Occasionally you'll see a person of great emotional intelligence come through Amherst. One person that comes to mind is Amilcar Shabazz.
I watched him run for the School board with great hope that he could help fix a broken system. He wanted to advocate for equity and social justice within the academy and
the larger society; advancing historical knowledge both within and outside academia; and
expanding students’
access to and appreciation of high levels of intellectual engagement. He has a son in the system who plays in our soccer league and it's clear he is a dedicated father.

What I observed was he soon found there is a way to do things in Amherst and you either follow along or you are shown the door. He saw his great enthusiasm and emotional intelligence stiffed by gatekeepers, walls, and intellectual cronyism. I give him credit for hanging in there as long as he has and hope that some of his goals have been met. To me the school board should always be filled first and foremost with parents of actual students and not just some four-degree holding person whose qualifications are measured by his GPA and what friends he has or if somehow he has helped your cause. But Amherst doesn't think that way.

Walter Graff said...

Amherst plays it's own game and doesn't like when anyone tries to change their rules.

Look at the school superintendent. Many referred to her as the under qualified insider's insider. Remember when they wouldn't let anyone see her resume? They spent 100k on a"search" and what did they get? They got a person who lacked the resume of someone with any depth of experience. She's never even been certified to teach a class in her life according to her resume. She's s social worker and therapist who now commands a paycheck that is larger than our states governor at $147k. And what do we parents get? An often poorly run school system.

Boston Magazine recently printed its top fifty schools in the metro Boston area. Some pretty rich towns to live in I might add. If you look at the top schools in the list, all of them spend in the range of $10-12k per student. Here we are approaching $20k and what list are we on other than the middle of the bell curve.

It's all about Amherst narrow and selfish view of the world. Few other school districts would hire someone with such a narrow focus and lack of experience on their resume as their superintendent of schools. And that is why the direction of the school system is so narrow and unfocused. That is why special Ed is always top of the list... when all your experience is in one area that becomes the major focus. At the same time never having been in the trenches does not allow you to see the big picture. That is one reason why the teachers quietly grumble about her direction and musings.

The leadership in Amherst is one of the reasons why some of the best teachers left Amherst. Thankfully we still have some wonderful teachers who quietly buck the system and give our students the education they deserve, not what is dictated by a narrowly focused management. And even in the offices of the schools I see some amazing people who do an incredible job to hold together a system that offers them less than they deserve.

The bottom line with the Town of Amherst is that if they like you personally and you can provide them validation for their own failed agenda, you are the perfect choice for any role. If they don't like you or someone who supports you, then welcome to an evil game of personal destruction.

That is why the folks like you see the personal vendettas. This town is run by people who only wish to further their own political agenda. And if you are outside of that, then you are an outsider.

If you one day did run for any kind of office you can bet a lot of effort from the inside would focus on seeing you in the cross hairs. You'd break every cog in this rusty and outdated machine.

Oh and I meant 8:44/8:45, just before heading over to my kids school for the class trip. Must have just missed you.

Anonymous said...

Where were all of you posters when Larry petitioned The Select Board? When I watched the meeting, he was the lone voice speaking in favor of changing the town's policy. If you feel as strongly as your comments indicate, why aren't you out there advocating too, instead of just jumping on Larry's bandwagon of criticism and regret well after the fact?

Walter Graff said...

The Amherst system is a closed system where what you say does little. Larry would have to take it to the voters to have change. The select board despises him so will not do anything to help him or anything he presents. They only present lip service to him and anyone that agrees with him. We used to call it having a stick up your ass but I think political correctness made it something you are not supposed to say anymore. To the Select Board Larry is an annoying fly in the room.

Hmmmm... Maybe it's time to publicly discuss some of the less-than legal things that go on in Amherst Government. Yep, a few know but no one has yet dare to let the cat(s) out of the bag.

Anonymous said...

Oh my God… Has Dr. Ed begun sharing his special Kool Aid with Walter?