Legion pulls out of event over Tea Party
By Charles Menchaca • Wausau Daily Herald • July 4, 2009
American Legion post on Friday withdrew from Fourth of July events on downtown's 400 block, saying the event has become too political.
American Legion Honor Guard co-commander John Pellegrino and post commander Dale Wisnewski decided Friday afternoon to cancel Independence Day celebrations after anonymous callers threatened to boycott the Legion and its golf course. The Legion's honor guard had planned a flag ceremony and 21-gun salute to honor fallen soldiers.
At issue is a Tea Party event scheduled to begin after Legion ceremonies. Tea Party Patriots advisory board member Meg Ellefson said the American Legion originally applied for a permit to use the 400 block itself. Legion members later agreed to allow Tea Party participants to piggyback on the permit, Legion secretary Chuck Hills said.
About 30 anonymous callers who phoned the Legion's clubhouse complained that the involvement of the Tea Party group made it appear as if the Legion was supporting the Republican Party, Hills said.
The Legion's bylaws prohibit the organization from taking partisan positions, Hills said. The Legion, which has 1,000 members in the city of Wausau, honors veterans through fundraisers and memorial events.
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