One commemorative flag in downtown today (DPW forgot to take it down after Labor Day)
In her well timed guest column in the weekly Amherst Bulletin (the last one before 9/11), Amherst's top elected town official takes me to task for essentially being stubborn in the matter of not flying the 29 commemorative flags in the downtown every 9/11 as opposed to only once every five years.
When I was growing up in Amherst, well before Ms. O'Keeffe was born, my Irish mother attributed that streak of stubbornness to my Irish heritage.
But I also learned early on from Martin Luther King, Jr. that it's okay for an individual (of any race, creed, color or national heritage) to break a law that their conscience tells them is "unjust."
And for Amherst to disallow flying the commemorative flags four-out-of-five 9/11s is simply wrong. (Especially since we fly them every Memorial Day -- as we should!)
When I first started this campaign twelve years ago, some critics considered the gesture a pro-Afghanistan war statement, and then a year or two later as a pro-Iraq war statement; and perhaps now some zealots would consider it a pro-Syria war statement.
It's not about politics, period. It's about 3,000 Americans who got up on a gorgeous Tuesday morning to go about their daily routine, and over a two-hour period were ruthlessly murdered.
Select Board Chair Stephanie O'Keeffe also fails to mention that twice now in public meetings I have offered to abide by the will of the voters.
Yes, Town Meeting turned down my advisory request by a two-thirds vote and the Select Board by a 60/40 vote. Interestingly Ms. O'Keeffe voted in the majority.
However back in May, 2007 after she voted YES as a Town Meeting member to flying the flags annually on 9/11 she wrote on her blog:
"I don’t need to have commemorative flags at half-staff downtown to mark my 9/11 remembrance, but it doesn’t hurt.
If you strip away all the overwrought Amherst stuff that becomes part and parcel of this article, it is really saying, “Should we fly flags downtown every year on 9/11?”
And to that, I say – “Sure! Why not?” To me, answers to “why not” were not compelling, but of course, I was in the minority."
What are they afraid of?
#AmherstMA Select Board @StephanieOK http://t.co/coHB16m8A5 vs citizen-journalist @amherstac http://t.co/JpsEZvyTdX on 9-11 flag display
— CitizenWald (@CitizenWald) September 6, 2013
Citizen Wald is Select Board member Jim Wald