by Minnie Knych
San Juan Island
I am not an Army brat; however, I come from a family of veterans and I am the wife of a Vietnam veteran who was awarded a Bronze Star with valor and A Purple Heart for his service. He carries the scars as a reminder. I am also a senior citizen who values our American patriotism and traditions.
While I am not a regular diner at the lunches, I count many of the seniors who do attend as my friends. Since you are fairly new to this community, I think you might change your mind if you met some of these people who just want their 30-year legacy restored.
You might want to meet Marie who said, “I am 82 years old and I’ve never been arrested but if I have to go to jail for pledging allegiance to the flag of my country, so be it.”
Or Sheila, who sent me a note saying, “I stopped going to the lunch when they stopped the prayer and the birthdays.”
And then there is the 70-year-old Vietnam Marine veteran who walked into lunch wearing his American Legion hat and was told, “I know why you’re here and you’re not welcome,” by Mullis manager Anna Coffelt. He says she threatened to call the sheriff if he stayed. When he offered to give her the sheriff’s phone number, she walked away.
Maybe you would like to meet the widower who became a recluse after his wife passed away until his mother insisted he attend the senior lunch. There he made several good friends and began to have a social life again. He stopped attending lunch when his good friend was banned for bringing a flag into the Mullis Center.
If you want to hear why legacy and tradition of what makes America exceptional is treasured by the majority of senior lunchgoers there are others you can meet. No one was ever forced to say either the pledge or prayer that take only 30 seconds of time. Ask the Mullis Center staff and Operations Committee a few questions:
“Since the recall petition has been sent to them, why have the officers of the Operations Committee prepared a revision of the Rules of Operation that will restrict recall elections and will give the officers of the Operations Committee control over who can be a candidate for the committee?”
Why have so many of the Mullis volunteers quit in protest over the banning of the prayer and pledge?
Why is wearing a badge, “I STAND FOR THE PLEDGE, or bringing a flag into the room considered disruptive behavior that requires a sheriff’s deputy?
Why are the rules for who can vote being changed from anyone over 60 years old or disabled to dues-paying members only?
Is the arbitrary banning of the prayer, pledge and people tyranny by the minority over the majority?
I can answer that last one: YES!