Former town supervisor Jim McNeil reclines on the contentious couch in Ellenburg’s town hall.
A dust-up over the honor of Old Glory at Ellenburg's March 20 town meeting centered on a debate over treatment of the U.S. flag.
“It doesn't belong in a public building,” said former town supervisor Dick Pearson. “I don't care if it's in a private residence.”
Pearson was in the Marines and served in the military police during his service years from '59 to '64. He said that people have died for the flag, and sitting on it is painfully offensive.
Chris Brooks, newly made the town's recreation director, countered that the fabric on the sofa isn't actually a flag. He wears a flag patch daily as part of his corrections officer uniform, and wondered if rubbing that patch on chairs when he sits down is disrespectful. He thinks the sofa is patriotic.
Town Supervisor Dave Leonard added the red, white and blue-bedecked piece of furniture to the hall. It came from his mother's collection, and was originally made in celebration of the bicentennial.
Leonard canvassed the audience at the town meeting for opinions. Five people in the crowd raised their hands when asked if the flag-themed sofa was offensive out of an audience of about 20. He welcomed further input.