That took a special kind of stupid.
Mayor Ed Hozza of Whitehall Township in Lehigh County faced a small army of hostile military veterans during Monday night’s township commissioners meeting.
They were angry because the mayor had a POW/MIA flag taken down from a flag pole so a Syrian flag-raising event could be held outside the township building on April 18. Some called for Hozza to resign.
One man claimed he violated federal laws.
Another compared him to “Hanoi Jane,” a name given to actress Jane Fonda, who will never be forgiven by many vets for what they consider her traitorous visit to North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
The attack on Hozza came just a week before the primary election, where he faces a challenge in his re-election bid from fellow Democrat Jerry Palagonia, a township commissioner who was at the meeting.
After the meeting, when asked if it was a coincidence that the issue erupted just before the primary, Hozza chose not to respond directly.
But he added there is a history going back 25 years of heated controversy at the last board of commissioners meeting just before a Democratic primary for township executive or mayor.
At times, Monday night’s meeting threatened to get completely out of control.
No one gaveled for order. The meeting room was filled way over capacity, which Hozza later put at 55.
Many people filled the seats and stood along the walls. Some sat on the podium right in front of the dais. Others simply sat on the floor.
The veterans want official township action so the POW flag is never again taken down.
“It’s going to happen,” promised Linda Snyder, president of the township commissioners.
Township resident Kevin Seyfried declared the only time the POW/MIA flag is allowed to come down “is when all 88,000 POWs and MIAs return home.”
He also maintained no other flag is allowed to fly on the same pole as the American flag.