Veterans' markers no place for politics
SALEM — With the political season ramping up, selectmen are asking for political signs to be kept at least 10 feet away from veterans’ markers.
The issue came up last week when the town accidently discarded political signs that had been removed from veterans’ markers.
Patrick Hargreaves, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said he noticed the signs around town and asked that they be removed and brought to the transfer station where the candidates could pick them up, as is normally done in such cases. A miscommunication with the town manager led to the signs being discarded, he said.
Hargreaves apologized to the candidates who lost signs but said they should not have been on town property and should not have been near veterans’ markers.
“To me, a veteran’s marker is holy ground,” Hargreaves said. “It honors our veterans who made the supreme sacrifice and gave their lives to the United States and the town of Salem.”
Doug Micklon, president of the Salem Veterans Association, thanked Hargreaves for his efforts and asked that political signs be kept 10 feet from veterans’ markers.
Town Manager Keith Hickey said a change may be unnecessary since all veterans’ markers are on town property and political signs are not allowed on town property.
While that is technically true, Selectman Stephen Campbell said enforcing that rule would be a huge change from past practices that allowed the signs as long as they weren’t in the right-of-way. He suggested adopting a policy that prohibits placing political signs within 10 feet of a veteran’s marker. His motion was passed unanimously.
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Julie Hanson may be reached at Jhanson@newstote.com.
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