Selectman and town residents respond to ‘kneeling’ controversy

(WFSB)

A Haddam Selectman’s decision to kneel during the Pledge of Allegiance at a meeting sparked controversy in town and online.

Channel 3 spoke with residents who gathered on the town green on Friday night to voice their opinions in support and in protest.

Several hundred people placed flags to protest the Selectman Melissa Schlag’s decision to kneel during the Pledge of Allegiance at a July 16th Board of Selectman meeting.

Since her decision, Schlag’s Facebook page is blanketed with posts both in support and against her.

“This is just people getting out and saying that for the Pledge of Allegiance that we’re supporting the flag,” said Haddam resident Rick Annino.

Those in protest of Schlag’s actions placed 1,000 flags on the green.

“To me, it’s very unpatriotic and there’s no place for that,” said Haddam resident Fred Hartke.

Selectman Schlag spoke to Channel 3 in a phone interview on Friday. She said she knelt in response to President Trump meeting that same day with Russian President Vladimir Putin.“I don’t kneel because I hate my country,” said Schlag. “I kneel because I love my country.”

Schlag said she does have many supporters who believe her kneeling was patriotic.

The town’s First Selectman Lizz Milardo stood in solidarity with those who gathered on Friday.

“She does have a right to kneel. I don’t feel it should have happened at a town meeting because she is being paid to be there,” said First Selectman Milardo.

The event closed with a standing Pledge of Allegiance. For some, that was enough, but others said they will demand action.

“I think she should have to resign because she is a paid official,” said West Hartford resident, Jill Luisi.

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