By Guy Page
The Springfield Planning Commission voted April 6 to no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance at future meetings.
The vote was 4-1 with only Beth Gray voting in opposition. The effort to ban the Pledge was led by Planning Commissioner Jules O’Guin, who read aloud a statement she had written for the occasion.
O’Guin concluded that the Pledge was written in 1892 to help celebrate Columbus Day, the beginning of European colonization of America.
“The colonization of the Americas lead to the beginning of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, resulting in the enslavement and deaths of millions of innocent people through slavery,” O’Guin said.
Concluding the lengthy statement [appendix at end of minutes], O’Guin wrote: “The Pledge was introduced as part of the commemoration of Columbus. It should not be disassociated from the atrocities that resulted and should not fill any American’s heart with pride. It was a ritual designed by a white majority with no regard to the pain it would cause minorities, because at the time it was written, minorities had no rights and were not included. This is the history of the Pledge of Allegiance.”
After reading the statement, “Jules expressed opposition to the practice of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at Planning Commission meetings,” the minutes of the meeting say. “Mike Schmitt made a motion to discontinue the practice of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at future Planning Commission meetings. Motion seconded by Susan Fog. Motion passed 5-1.”
According to the April 12 Springfield Reporter, Fog, a schoolteacher retiring after 30 years, said the pledge ‘caused distress for many students, especially those from other backgrounds.’
Gray is the wife of Randy Gray, a former Republican candidate for Windham County state senator.
Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle. Reprinted with permission.