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Freedom of Speech at Town Meeting

Date: 5/26/2009

An East Longmeadow High School teacher in the 1960s gave the students an assignment to attend the town meeting. As one of those students I have been proud to live in a town with this form of government. Citizens have the right to speak on an article and vote. On Tuesday, May 18, that freedom of speech was cut short because I was stating an unpopular opinion and wanted to ask three questions. My relatives fought in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the two World Wars and Korea. Generations of men and women lost their lives for an individual s right to speak, question and the duty to vote.

Leaving the town meeting a number of individuals stopped me to say I was correct with my statements. One suggested writing The Reminder. My response was why was I only one person who had the courage to stand, be recognized, and voice support for my right through town bylaws to speak.

My apologies to the other citizens of East Longmeadow, whom I have encouraged to attend town meetings, listen, speak, and vote. You were correct and I finally agree with all your reasons not to attend the meetings or voice any comments.

Donna Utter

East Longmeadow