9/11/12 (Photo by Helen Thelen)
Today the provincial Amherst Select Board will hold a special meeting in the Town Manager's office at 3:00 PM to approve a one-day liquor license for Top Of The Campus, an upscale UMass bar; the Planning Board will meet in Town Hall at 7:00 PM to discuss medical marijuana zoning issues; and a "touring exhibit" about Guantanamo Bay, a prison for suspected terrorists, debuts at UMass .
Just another late summer day in the bucolic town of Amherst.
Well, except for the Fire Station ceremony at 9:45 AM at Central Station, in the heart of the downtown. Unfortunately children will be in school and most of their parents will be at work. Although town center will still be vibrant with college aged youth.
One of the blessings of being a "college town."
In other words, kind of like it was on THAT day 12 years ago. Except for the ringing of the bells. The constant clanging of the bells of St. Brigid's Church indicating something was terribly, terribly wrong.
The main flag in town center will also be at half staff as ordered by Governor Patrick earlier today, even though President Bush made it a permanent day for the American flag to sink to a position of mourning.
And yes, as I have done since THAT day, anytime the town refuses to fly the 29 commemorative flags downtown I will stand in town center with an American flag starting at 8:46 AM for a two hour period to mark the time of the attack.
To remember the slaughter of over 3,000 Americans (if you count the workers who later died of diseases resulting from their rescue efforts at Ground Zero) murdered, simply because they were Americans.
The Select Board seems to think the commemorative flags are too "festive" even though we fly them on Memorial Day. But if the commemorative flags were flown at half staff (as they did on the late morning of 9/11) it would be hard for anyone to misinterpret that.
Starting only a few years ago, without fail, a college aged youth would approach me curiously and ask why I was holding an American flag in the center of Amherst? I would say, "Do you know what day this is?" And they would respond with whatever day of the week it was.
"No, what is today's date?" After a brief pause, their facial expression would change as they would slowly nod their head up and down.
"Oh yeah ... 9/11."