John Fletcher, commander of the American Legion in Marlborough, New Hampshire, hosts an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. This year, while advertising the ceremony, a local school superintendent asked Fletcher to remove the word “Christmas” from his flyers, or be barred from distributing them.
Fletcher and his wife dress up as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus for the event. Fletcher hosts the tree lighting with his post of the American Legion and the Monadnock Lions club sponsoring.
According to Fletcher’s letter to the Sentinel Source, he makes “posters to put in the schools of Marlborough and Harrisville.” However, this year, new superintendent Rob Malay took issue with Fletcher’s posters.
Boston’s Fox 25 quotes Fletcher as saying, “He wanted me to change it to say ‘holiday tree lighting’ instead. It’s not a holiday tree, it’s a Christmas tree. If you want a holiday tree, then do it for Valentine’s Day, or Columbus Day, or whatever you want.”
As Fletcher continued, “In this case, this political correctness has just gone too far. It’s just getting out of hand. I respect everybody’s rights, but don’t take our rights away from us.”
Rather than change his posters and remove the word “Christmas”, Fletcher decided to use white out on the word and keep what was up.
Fletcher is a veteran of the Air Force. His son is also a veteran, and his grandson has just graduated from the Army Reserve.
Fletcher writes in his Sentinel Source Op-ed letter:
“On Veterans Day, I spoke of the freedoms we have and the veterans who have not only served their country but have given their lives for what we have today…It seems to me that our new superintendent, Rob Malay, doesn’t understand this…do not take away our rights because you may offend someone else.”
Malay and School Administrative Unit 29 reportedly made no comments to any of the sources that reached out.
The Christmas tree lighting ceremony is scheduled as planned. The money raised by both American Legion and Lions club groups will be used to give wrapped gifts to children who attend.
John Fletcher will be there as jolly old Saint Nick. Handing out presents just as he does every year. “That’s what it’s all about, it’s about the kids,” he said.