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The Daily Tar Heel

Resident Should Be Able To Express Patriotism in Time of Nation's Tragedy

A fellow businessman (and veteran) in town, Scott Maitland, decided to show the size of his patriotism last week by displaying a sign on the corner of Franklin and Columbia Streets that read: "God Bless America -- Woe to Our Enemies."

Thus emphasizing, one, love of his country and two, disdain for inhuman, ignorant, murderous zealots -- an honorable and honest indication of the pulse of America considering the horrible events of Sept. 11.

But evidently, Maitland's patriotism is 14 square feet too big. In Chapel Hill, you are only allowed six square feet of patriotism on a temporary sign (only four feet for picket signs.)

This "violation" resulted in a "brouhaha" with law-abiding "sign-a-holics" who informed some members of the Chapel Hill Town Council, prompting quotes from the town manager and inspections director and creating spontaneous Sidewalk Council meetings, all culminating in a (Durham) Herald-Sun article.

Council member Bill Strom said in the article that he found the language on the sign as "offensive" and as "sending the wrong message to his child."

That's great, council member, but that's your opinion, so let Maitland share his. This is America we are talking about here, remember?

If "Woe to Our Enemies" is the wrong message, what is the right message? That the despicable animals masquerading as human religious leaders who in the name of Allah killed 6,000 innocent lives are really good people -- that may be a little confused.

Or Town Council member Jim Ward, who said he would use "white-out" to change some wording on the sign.

Hey, what an idea -- the United States Special Forces can just cover Osama bin Laden and the rest of his misunderstood and underappreciated followers with "white-out" and then we can all jump in the convertible and ride to the local drive-in with Richie Cunningham and the Beaver.

It would have been refreshing to have our Town Council read "God Bless America -- Woe to Our Enemies" and wait for America to disperse of the gas the drives terrorism away forever instead of calling a foul on a local businessman for showing his love and support for our wonderful nation. Evidently, in Chapel Hill, size does matter. "God have mercy on the guilty ... because we will not." said Sen. John McCain on Sept. 12.

Don Eason

Chapel Hill

Owner of the North Carolina Sports Bar and Vietnam veteran

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