Larry Kelley plans to urge Amherst Select Board to reverse policy, display US flags on Sept. 11
AMHERST — Amherst blogger and Town Meeting member Larry Kelley will again appeal to the Select Board to have nearly 29 commemorative American flags fly annually on Sept. 11.
Kelley said Thursday he plans to attend the Select Board meeting Monday with a request for the board members to reverse a policy it established in 2010 that the flags go up only on milestone anniversaries of Sept. 11, and to instead have them flown that date every year. They are next scheduled to fly Sept. 11, 2016, the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
“My pitch will basically be the same as last year,” Kelley said.
He said he will also ask that the issue be put on the townwide ballot for next spring’s election, and if residents balk at the idea of flying the flags every Sept. 11, he will abide by the decision. “That alone should be reasons for them to do it,” Kelley said.
Several years ago, Town Meeting considered a petition by Kelley to fly the commemorative flags annually on Sept. 11. That was defeated by a two-thirds majority.
Because the topic is not on the agenda, he understands the board can’t take any action. But Kelley said he believes if his case is compelling enough the board members might want to have the topic on a future agenda early next month.
“What they could do, if they want, is to schedule another meeting (before Sept. 11),” Kelley said.
Kelley said the issue remains important to him because many who live outside Amherst perceive the community as being hostile to the American flag, even though the flag flies in front of many municipal buildings and the commemorative flags go up several times a year.
“My theory is 9/11 is an extraordinary day, it’s not a July 4th or a Veterans Day,” Kelley said. He said flying the flags annually would also put the town in line with what most other communities do.
No matter what happens, Kelley said he plans to stand in town center the morning of Sept. 11 holding a flag and reflecting on the loss of 3,000 people in the attacks that day.