ENFIELD, N.Y—The Town of Enfield has officially decided to fly the official flag of the Republic of Ukraine over its town hall out of support for the nation, which is currently under invasion by neighboring Russia.

At a special meeting of the Town Board, which was initially scheduled to discuss salt barn bids, Board member Robert Lynch read and introduced the motion to fly the flag in accordance with the flag policies set forth in 2018.

Lynch read a resolution “In support of the people and the Republic of Ukraine,” acknowledging the normal flag policies of the Town of Enfield and positing that due to the current circumstances in Ukraine, the flag meets the criteria required to fly the flag. The war has generated harsh backlash in Ithaca, the surrounding area and across the country.

“The people of Ukraine found their nation invaded by a foreign power, without provocation, and since that time have exhibited exemplary bravery in the face of foreign aggression,” Lynch read in the resolution, which he wrote. “The Town Board of the Town of Enfield chooses to stand in solidarity with and in support of the Ukrainian people on behalf of its Enfield Town residents.”

The flag will fly for a minimum period of 30 days from when the flag is acquired, but could be flown longer if the situation continues and the Town Clerk approves it. The Tompkins County Legislature had previously approved a proposal to fly the flag outside of the legislature building.

Though Town Supervisor Stephanie Redmond did second the resolution, allowing discussion to continue, she said she had grappled with the decision to support it. While she is half-Ukrainian, Redmond said she was wary of Enfield overstepping its bounds, as well as having the message be misconstrued by outside observers.

“I definitely support the Ukraine government and the Ukraine people as they go through this,” Redmond said. “I have concerns [with] the Town of Enfield weighing into international politics, and I was not going to vote for this because I felt like it’s a slippery slope.”

The worsening situation in Europe, though, pushed Redmond to support.

“It makes me terrified, to be honest,” Redmond said, clearly emotional. “I really don’t want to see this go any further. I’ve seen our country invade so many countries. I have a 19-year-old son that I got pregnant with right after 9/11, and we have bombed countries constantly since he was born. […] There’s a point where an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

Despite her deeply anti-war sentiments overall, Redmond said she understood the need to support Ukrainians. She insisted that the decision not be viewed as either anti-Russian or as a call for the United States to directly intervene in the conflict—as has so far been avoided, at least militarily. Lynch echoed that opinion.

“This is not anti-Russian sentiment,” Redmond stated, noting the opposition to the invasion among the Russian public that has been seen in protests in cities throughout the country calling for peace. “This is anti-war sentiment.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com