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semperfiman
12-14-06, 11:56 PM
OPINION


THE LEADER



The flag at Becton should’ve been lowered from the get-go

It was all anyone could talk about last week: young Michael Schwarz, just 20 years old, was dead. A Carlstadt Marine, just three months into his tour, was shot by a sniper in Iraq on Nov. 27.
While family and friends mourned and tried to comfort each other, local government officials did what they always do: lowered the flags at half-staff on Nov. 28 once the news was out Carlstadt and East Rutherford municipal buildings joined those at the county in this ceremonial sign of sympathy and communal mourning. It was assumed that Becton Regional High School — Michael graduated in 2004 — would participate as well. And here is where things turned ugly at a time where there was no room for anything but love and support.
Dr. Samuel Feldman refused to lower the flag. Mysteriously, the flag was lowered anyway. It was. ordered raised again. Then it was mysteriously lowered once more. And up it went again. Some reports indicate it was finally taken down from die pole altogether. Students signed petitions and parents reached -out to the press. Everyone was mad and crazed at a time when respect and sympathy were desperately needed.
People said Feldman refused to lower die flag because he said an executive order was needed from Gov. Jon Corzine. Carlstadt Mayor Will Roseman said this is what Feldman told him and although "he's right," said Roseman, "and that may be die case ... but it's a common and accepted practice for municipalities to lower their flags as they see fit (for example when a council member dies)."
In the end, Feldman said he would lower die flag if he got a joint proclamation from both Carlstadt and

East Rutherford mayors. So both Roseman and East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella did just that and by Wednesday, Nov. 29, die flag was at half-staff.
There are several disturbing aspects at play here. First, if Carlstadt, East Rutherford and Bergen County officials were all lowering flags for Michael Schwarz, just what, exactly, was Feldman afraid of? What law did he fear he was breaking? There's no "flag police" going around looking for errant half-staff Old Glories flapping in the breeze. Was sticking to his principle and what he thought was right worth the heartache at play? Was it worth making students and parents suffer more than they already were? What point was he trying to make? And worst of all, a simple call to the governor's office could've cleared the whole matter up in minutes. Feldman would've learned that he didn't even need an executive order or even a proclamation.
Brendan Gilfillan from Gov. Corzine's said die state has no objections to schools or municipalities lowering flags on their own; it's up to them. He also said, "When we issue a Governor's Order, it applies directly to state agencies."
So, Mayor Roseman can request a Governor's Executive Order to lower the flags, and what happens is, one day is chosen when all die state agencies lower flags in Michael's honor for one day. It actually has nothing to do with what is done on die local level at all. It's still a nice gesture, and one that has been carried out for every New Jersey soldier who died in Iraq (or at least from what can be gleaned from die governor's Web site). The mayor should request this for Michael; it's just another way to remember a solder who died in the line of duty.

crate78
12-15-06, 06:10 PM
It's sad that some dork like that can make a time of trial even worse.

I was once Buildings and Grounds Supervisor for a relatively large public school district. The Superintendent was not only an alcoholic (the town drunk, if you will), he didn't have brains enough to p*** a hole in a snowbank. And the School Board wimped out and wouldn't do anything about him because they were afraid he would sue them.

After five and a half years, I told them to stick it without even finishing out the school year.

crate

candi
12-16-06, 03:39 PM
What a dick.