In a video posted Thursday at The Blaze, two members of the Hampden, Maine, town council refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. One member who refused to stand -- Vietnam veteran Thomas Brann -- said the decision to start meetings with the pledge is part of a larger “Tea Party, extreme conservative Republican” push to “embarrass” and “discredit” the two members who have not stood for the recital of the pledge since January.
According to The Blaze, Brann objected to the introduction given by Mayor Carol Duprey, who said the pledge was intended to pay tribute to those in uniform “currently serving in harm’s way.”
But Duprey said that “every single person supporting the Constitution” deserves honor and respect, not just those currently serving in combat, and, he added, it’s wrong for Duprey to leave others out.
"Brann told TheBlaze he would stand for the pledge if Duprey’s 'in harm’s way' qualifier was struck from her introduction," Dave Urbansky wrote.
“For me that would be enough," he said.
Duprey, however, said there was no introduction or tribute to the troops at the Feb. 18 meeting, which she did not attend.
There was an announcement that the pledge would commence, she said, and that neither Brann nor fellow council member William Shakespeare stood for the pledge.
Video of the meeting would seem to validate Duprey's comment, The Blaze said, adding that it also appears to render Brann's assertion invalid.
Duprey also told The Blaze she is not politically affiliated and is “not a Tea Party member, nor is anyone else on council as far as I know.”
Brann also said the Hampden Association of Landowners, the organization that posted the video to YouTube, is out to get the two council members and described the group as a "cultish organization” that’s giving the Tea Party a bad name.
A spokesperson for the group, however, called Brann's comments "inaccurate."
Both Shakespeare and Brann voted against reciting the pledge when it became policy in January.
WLBZ 2 in Bangor reported that town officials have received a number of calls complaining about the actions of both council members.
"While the Pledge of Allegiance is a part of our agenda and it's part of the opening of our council meetings...whether or not anybody participates...whether that be a counselor or a member of the audience.. is personal choice," town manager Susan Lessard said.
"I don't think it will hurt them [the councilors] as people..specially now that I know why they did it.," added Sam Cannon, a member of the local V.F.W. and a serving member in Maine's Air National Guard, "They were exercising their Constitutional amendment rights so I'm all for that as long as its for the right purpose of doing that."
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