It’s Always Xmas in Bar Harbor

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xmas tree.jpgAnyway, there’s now a Christmas tree installed in a Bar Harbor park with multicolored lights to be lit in perpetuity–or at least until the Bar Harbor Town Council revisits the deal in two years. The organization responsible for the installation is a Maine non-profit called Wreaths Across America, which is dedicated to honoring America’s veterans with what look like Christmas wreaths at Arlington National and other cemeteries around the country.

For its part, the one-of-a-kind memorial Christmas tree is supposed to honor service personnel who happened to away from their families around the winter solstice. Or as the bronze plaque affixed to a hunk of granite under the tree puts it:

“The Christmas They Never Had”
Wreaths Across America dedicates this perpetually lit tree
in honor of those men and women
who in service to Our country
were separated from loved ones
during the holiday season.
Regardless of religious beliefs or creed
their sacrifice must always be remembered.
July 9 2011

Some local residents are not at all happy about this. My son Ezra reports in the latest issue of the Bar Harbor Times that one of them went so far as to trek down a half-mile driveway past motion detectors and 12 dogs to adorn a newly elected town councilor’s windshield with a note that read, “NO CHRISTMAS TREES IN BAR HARBOR, YOU HAVE THE POWER TO STOP THIS ATROCITY. IT WILL BE CUT DOWN, I GUARANTEE IT.”

From a constitutional standpoint, the Supreme Court in Allegheny County established that Christmas trees are secular items whose mere erection in public places does not represent a violation of the Establishment Clause. It appears, moreover, that Wreaths Across America–which is covering all expenses related to the tree–has no covert agenda, religious or otherwise, with the possible exception of getting good publicity for the Worcester Wreath Company. So unless the Town Council or a Grinch with a chainsaw decides otherwise, that balsam fir in Agramont Park will be blinking away for a good long time.