UN flag flies 24/7, 365 days a year in front of Amherst Town Hall
One of the earlier political "firsts" for the loquacious little town of Amherst, trumpeted nationwide via the Associated Press (because print media loves "firsts") a generation ago, is still visible to this very day flying only yards from Town Hall.
And still talked about by Town officials.
Last Monday, with little comment, the Amherst Select Board voted unanimously to declare October 24 "United Nations Day" in Amherst.
Just as 40 years ago Amherst went all out to celebrate the anniversary (started in 1948) by becoming the fist "town" in America to "permanently" fly the UN Flag at their seat of government.
New York City and Los Angeles also fly the UN flag but they are, um, cities.
The late 60s and early 70s was a time of nationwide political upheaval -- especially in "college towns" -- mainly focused on the Vietnam War. Thus the anti-war movement found fertile ground in Amherst, "where only the h is silent".
And to this day, in town center, the weekly vigil for peace still holds court starting at high noon.
The fly the blue flag movement started with Mrs. Robert McGarrah, "housewife" of a UMass professor (naturally), who collected over 500 signatures in November, 1972 on a petition presented to the Amherst Select Board. The first week of December the SB voted unanimously to approve the idea.
And as we know from the festering controversy over flying commemorative American flags on 9/11, which is banned four-out-of-every-five years, the Select Board alone has final say over the public way.
Ironically the petition stated: "We can be patriotic citizens of the United States and a patriotic country in the world community."