To the editor:
We’re writing in response to the article “Who should run the Memorial Day Parade?” Not all information shared in the article is accurate and it conveys assumptions …
To the editor:
We’re writing in response to the article “Who should run the Memorial Day Parade?” Not all information shared in the article is accurate and it conveys assumptions by one person without balance.
In March 2022, the Council did not remove an organization from the Memorial Day Parade, it followed the prior year’s precedent. The UVC, as stated in the article, rejected an invitation to participate.
There had been no parade for two years. In 2020, public health restrictions prevented it. In 2021, the UVC broke with decades of tradition and decided not to hold the parade, but didn’t tell town officials. Just one month prior to Memorial Day, without an organizing group, the Town was left in the difficult position of blaming the UVC or allowing it to save face. In retrospect, it would have been wise to convey to the public that the UVC had chosen not to hold the parade, but the Council shielded the UVC from that embarrassment and canceled a 2021 parade that never existed. Without time to plan and respectfully execute a parade, the Council tasked the Town Manager with organizing a simple ceremony at Town Hall in 2021.
To ensure Barrington would not be reliant on an independent organization, the Council continued its 2021 practice, entrusting the day’s events to the Town Manager.
This current practice should stand. A committee appointed by the administration (or the Council) is well-suited to inclusively plan and execute the event. The multi-generational, multi-racial, multi-religious and mixed-gendered group of volunteers who organized the ceremony and parade in 2022 represented nearly every branch of the military and included family members of veterans. They sent invitations to all 500 Barrington veterans – a first! The UVC, an independent organization from which many Barrington veterans feel excluded, chose for the last two years to work against the town, rather than with the town – including by diverting Barrington parade participants away from our community and to a neighboring town’s parade in 2022.
The article expressed a personal assumption that the UVC President’s inflammatory behavior was the reason his organization wasn’t chosen to run the parade. He is wrong, but the article shared no alternative. While the campaign the UVC launched against Barrington after the ex-Town Manager raised a Black Lives Matter flag is reason for concern and to keep distance from an organization, it is secondary. Prior generations of the UVC may have been well-suited for the responsibility of a town-wide event, but that is no longer the case, and the BUVC is an inappropriate spokesperson for the town as a whole.
It would be a step backward as a community, and a departure from the platform on which every single Council member since 2018 has been endorsed and elected to represent Barrington, to take the responsibility of Memorial Day away from the diverse and inclusive group of veterans who planned it in collaboration with the town administration.
Victoria Kessler (US Air Force veteran)
Larry Sample (US Army veteran)
William Bullard (US Navy, retired)
Joel Huval (US Navy, retired)