Hopedale Select Board removes Pledge of Allegiance from its future agendas Rescinds a 2015 board vote that added it to the board’s agenda
By Theresa Knapp
The Hopedale Select Board has removed the Pledge of Allegiance from its future board meetings.
At its meeting on June 27, the board voted 2-1 (Glenda Hazard and Bernie Stock in favor, Brian Keyes opposed) to rescind a vote by a 2015 Board of Selectmen that officially added the Pledge at the top of its meeting agendas.
Keyes urged the board to keep the tradition, and called its removal disrespectful and unpatriotic.
Hazard said she received several public comments in support of her suggestion to remove it from the agenda, and only one person was opposed.
Stock said he did not think the Pledge needed to be on the agenda. He recalled his previous service (of 10 years) on the Board of Selectmen when it was not on the agenda nor was it said at the meetings. He also served as Town Moderator for 14 years and the Pledge was not said at those meetings either.
Stock also cautioned against calling his patriotism into question.
“My experience in Vietnam was in the mortuary and I saw cases go out day after day, hundreds at a time, with flags on them, so I know what that flag represents. I don’t need to pledge to it to understand the importance of it and the significance that it carries.” Keyes said the Pledge should not be removed to “save time” or to “get down to business.”
Hazard acknowledged the Pledge signifies unity to some people but, to her, it highlights the current division in the United States. She said, “I assume that we all love our country and that I don’t really need to dictate how we all love our country.” She said other boards do not say the Pledge and when the Select Board has said it in the past, it would typically be to an empty room. She also said she would like meetings to “get right to business”, noted the Pledge refers to God which some people disagree with, and she [Hazard] does not feel she can personally force someone to pledge their allegiance to anything specific.
The issue had been raised at a previous meeting, after which town resident Len Guertin shared meeting minutes from the June 1, 2015 Board of Selectmen meeting where that board unanimously voted to add the pledge to the agendas. Those minutes served as a guide for the motion to rescind