Friday, July 1, 2016

Commemorative vs Festive

Commemorative flags up for July 4th, main flag at half-staff to honor Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Clement, US Navy, a Massachusetts native

After almost 15 years -- with 14 of them being a constant battle -- I'm a little embarrassed to admit this morning was the first time I read the 2002 Annual Town Report entry for our illustrious Select Board, probably written by then Town Manager Barry Del Castilho.

 Click to enlarge/read

Now it somewhat makes sense one of the (less flag hating) arguments used to keep the 29 commemorative flags down for a dozen of the 9/11 anniversaries since that stunning day:  The misconception that the commemorative flags are "festive".

And obviously 9/11 is as far from festive as one can possible get.

But if the flags were always intended to be "festive" why was Memorial Day included in the original six days our Select Board came up with at that infamous meeting only 12 hours before two planes streaked out of clear blue sky, impaling the most prominent buildings in the New York skyline?

Because Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have laid down their lives to keep us free.  So that too is not exactly "festive."

Main Street, USA

As we slowly slide closer and closer to the 15th anniversary of that still unbelievable morning, all it takes (for me at least) is a typical gorgeous sun splashed summer day, or perhaps the ringing of church bells, to momentarily bring me back to that horrible, horrible time.

But perhaps the presence of those flags -- now down to 21 -- will inspire some of the thousands of college aged youth flocking to our little town for the first time to pause for a brief moment, to ponder the joys of life we take for granted.

Something horrifically snatched from 3,000 innocent souls, who were simply going about their business on a late summer morning that started out ever so routine.


Anonymous said...

This town is stupid beyond belief. Not flying American flags on 9/11 because they are "festive"... what morons we have running our town. And I'm told that the reason our High School does not have a marching band is the local yokels who have nothing better to do with their lives than run for offices that no one else has time for because the rest of us are actually contributing to society... well, I heard the morons said no marching band because it was militaristic. I have also heard that the high school was prevented from performing "West Side Story" because of its "racist content". I don't know if any or all of those things are true, but the fact that I believe them because nothing that I have seen of this town's government has made me think that they are anything but politically correct boobs who love the sound of their own voice and their photos in the newspapers.

This town is broken. I think it was a nice town at some point in its history. I know many nice people in the town and nice police officers, fire persons and teachers. So how come it's the brain-dead crap wads who run things? I think we'd have a better town government from top to bottom if instead of electing these idiots we just had a simple drawing of names of citizens at random and gave them the jobs of responsibility. I would bet the farm that the average person who was handed the job of selectman or town mayor or manager or school superintendent could and would do the jobs better and hey, you don't need degrees up the ass to be smart. There is a HUGE difference between being educated and being intelligent. I see a lot of good people walking through town every day that would be better than the leaders we have handed all of this power to.

Now, I don't except anything to ever change. I think the town will get worse and the problems will become more serious and the rest of the state and country will look at Amherst as the joke that it has become. And it's such shame. But it's the reason that as soon as the average Amherst homeowner's kids graduate high school, the family house goes up for sale and the nice people leave Amherst for a nicer town. And my family is going to be right behind them.

Anonymous said...

Residents of Amherst should feel ashamed of the decision by our select board that refuses to fly the American flag, not only on September 11th but on many other days of the year. This is such nonsense. Is this what we really want for our town when so many Americans and others around the world are so proud of our country? Do we honor all those who went before us and gave so much of themselves to make our lives easier by negating a symbol that meant so very much to them?
Our flag represents the spirit of a country which is seen by many as a place where the ideals of hope, freedom and equality may not be completely achieved yet, but where we are still able to aim for these goals without fear. Are there really so many Amherst residents who are truly opposed to flying the American flag or is it once again that they will not speak up because of the very vocal, politically correct sub-group that always seems to get their way, claiming to be so tolerant when in reality they can be the most intolerant?
I have heard people say the American flag represents oppression and it’s a militaristic symbol. These people seem to hate the flag. I have never been able to understand this. I was taught that the colors are symbolic of ideals. White represents purity and innocence….nothing wrong here. Red symbolizes hardiness and valor…..still seems OK. And blue is for vigilance, perseverance and justice…….all three seem like worthwhile things to me. The stars represent the fifty states and peoples’ age-old aspirations of heavenly or divine goals. The stripes stand for the thirteen original colonies and symbolize rays of light from the Sun. I suppose, mention of Heaven or the divine could get a little risky for some, but not for me and not for many of you. So, where are we going wrong?
I think the town should reconsider its stance on this issue. We proudly fly the Stars and Stripes at our house and I would encourage others who are proud to be Americans, to do the same. I’d love to see flags on our Amherst light posts each and every day of the year!

Larry Kelley said...

The town did reconsider and changed their policy. As of last year the Select Biard voted to allow the commemorative flags to fly every 9/11.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for correcting me on the 9/11 policy.

Larry Kelley said...

It would be nice to see them up a little more often.

And to replace the 8 that went missing over the years.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, let's all applaud the Select Board for only taking 14 years to correct a stupid, un-American decision. Hey, I've got an idea... let's all just vote for whoever is NOT an incumbent next election. A complete stranger can't be any worse than the previous choices we've made. I'm willing to take that chance. Let's all vote for someone who has never run before. What have we got to lose? We're already the joke of Massachusetts anyway?

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, even if a marching band were foolishly deemed militaristic, what's wring with that? The military is an honorable institution. Unlike town politics.

Anonymous said...

This town is a great reason to vote Trump 2016.

Anonymous said...

More of the same? Ugh. Does Anyone think the country is better off after 8 years of Democrat policies? Oh-- right. Amherst does. Come November, heads will explode all over town.

Anonymous said...

I am hoping Helen berg runs for something soon. Let's shake things up (but not too violently)!