Barrington (RI) Veterans Council Resigns In Protest Of Town Flying BLM Flag Over Veterans Memorial

2024-03-21 18:25:38

Legal Insurrection Foundation is based in Barrington, Rhode Island. We are the “best kept secret” in this town that once was somewhat reddish, and now is decidedly blue. I’ve written before about how an influx of liberals from Providence and out of state attracted by the excellent school system and relatively (compared to the Boston area) low housing prices changed the character of Barrington.

The school system has gone woke, something we’ve documented many times here.

One symptom of the town’s loss of reason was the reaction to the death of George Floyd. The Town Council even co-sponsored an event featuring Ibrahm Kendi.

The town manager (at the time) followed by the Town Council went full BLM radical, to the point of flying the BLM flag above the town’s Veterans Memorial. This led to protests by the Barrington United Veterans Council (BUVC), an affiliate of the Town, which for almost 70 years was the voice of veterans in town. BUVC objected to ANY political flags being flown on the town flagpole over the Veterans Memorial.

The BUVC organized and ran the annual Memorial Day Parade, which is still a big deal in town, but their protests led to retaliation by the Town Council, which pulled the parade from BUVC. We covered the whole sordid saga in March 2022, Veterans Group Alleges Retaliation For Opposing Flying BLM Flag Over Barrington (RI) Veterans Memorial.

[Courtesy Greg Dulchinos]

The BUVC eventually was restored to control of the Parade, after continued public outcry which made the town councilors look petty and meanspirited.

So the story had a happy ending, right? Right? Buehler?

Sorry, BUVC is out again, not just of the parade, but of existence. It has decided to disband because of the continued refusal of the Town Council to get the BLM flag and other political flags, such as the ‘Pride’ flag, off the town flagpole over the Veterans Memorial. Attempts at compromise, such as erecting another flag pole to be placed nearby to fly political flags, were rejected.

The veterans wrotes an open letter in The Barrington Times (full embed at the bottom of the post) announcing disbanding of the Veterans group. It reads, in part:

The situation has become untenable. The Barrington United Veterans Council (BUVC) can no longer support or be affiliated with a local town government that openly disrespects and marginalizes its Veteran Community by failing to maintain the sanctity and decorum of the Town’s Veterans Memorials.  For over 4 years, the Barrington Veterans have petitioned the Barrington Town Council to refrain from flying controversial and politically charged partisan banners under the US flag over our Veterans memorial at the Town Hall; however, the Town Council has refused to acknowledge our wishes and continues to desecrate our Memorial.  They have repeatedly rejected all requests for compromise: such as erecting a separate flagpole away from our memorial from which to fly these unauthorized banners, to moving the American flagpole away from the memorial, to even relocating the Veterans Memorial itself.

The US Flag Code clearly states that the American Flagpole should never be used for advertising purposes, and this includes the unauthorized display of political banners from the same lanyard regardless of their merit.  Nowhere in this country will you find Military or Veterans Memorials being defiled in this manner.  The American Flag is the only flag that represents all Americans regardless of race, creed, ethnicity, or sexual orientation and it should be displayed unencumbered and free of partisan political rancor. It is the one flag that has been carried into battle by every service member since 1776 and it is the only flag that is respectfully laid across the caskets of our war dead.

Since 1954, the Barrington United Veterans Council has faithfully and honorably represented the combined veterans service organizations of the town in order to provide a single voice, sound counsel and guidance to the elected and appointed officials of Barrington concerning all matters related to the town’s Veteran Community.  In addition, the BUVC has successfully executed all our Town’s Annual Veterans ceremonies and events to include the celebrated Memorial Day Parade.  We have erected monuments to our war dead, maintained the Town’s Veterans Honor Roll, instituted a Lamp Post Memorial Banner Program, and have even helped to secure property tax exemptions for Veterans and their surviving spouses.

Unfortunately, the Barrington Town Council, which does not have a single Veteran among its members, has chosen to virtue signal to controversial national political entities outside of our community rather than respect the wishes of those that have served and sacrificed from within the community.   Therefore, effective immediately, the Barrington United Veterans Council will cease to exist as an official Town of Barrington government entity, and all its current members hereby resign in protest from their volunteer duties and obligations.  We can no longer serve in good faith a local government that harbors such hostility and animosity towards its Veterans and its families. In the future, Barrington American Legion Post #8 will continue those Veterans functions deemed necessary.

The Barrington Times reports on some of the controversy :

The decision to resign in protest left town officials scrambling to find someone to organize this year’s Memorial Day parade in Barrington. For decades, the BUVC and its members have “successfully executed all our Town’s annual veterans ceremonies and events to include the celebrated Memorial Day Parade.” 

Without BUVC members available, the Town Council decided to approve a $5,000 expenditure to hire an event planner for this year’s parade. 

Barrington Town Council President Carl Kustell has tried to remedy the issue. Last summer, Kustell suggested the town erect three new flagpoles at the top of the lawn in front of the Town Hall. Kustell said the flag pole in the middle would fly the US flag, while the poles on either side would fly the state flag and town flag. Kustell said officials could replace the town flag with other banners when they choose to do so. Currently, the town flies a number of different flags, including one for Black Lives Matter and the Pride flag — under the US flag above the veterans memorial.

Kustell said his plan would allow the town to continue to show solidarity for historically marginalized communities and also honor those who served and those who died while serving this country. 

“We can do it without diluting either message,” Kustell said. 

The Council President offered the Obama administration as an example — he said that when the marriage equality act was passed, the government lit up the White House in rainbow colors, but they refrained from doing that at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier or at other veterans memorials. 

Kustell’s plan failed to garner support among other Council members during the summer meeting. 

Kustell said the town has placed local veterans in a difficult position. 

“They’re in a tough spot, and I don’t blame them for finding the position untenable,” he said. 

This is a completely shameful course of conduct by the Barrington Town Council. What has happened in Barrington is a familiar story – the prevailing political ideology is apathy, which allows activists who are obsessed with forcing their agenda on others to carry the day.

It’s worth quoting the ending of the BUVC open letter, quoting George Washington:

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any wars, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”  –   George Washington

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Barrington (RI) Veterans Council Resigns In Protest Of Town Flying BLM Flag Over Veterans Memorial

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