Each year, we in Sag Harbor celebrate Memorial Day by honoring our veterans and remembering the men and women who died in combat while serving our country.
Each year, the village hosts a parade, during which our local veterans march down Main Street to a soundtrack provided by our community band.
And each year, this day is just as important as it was the year before.
While for many people, this weekend is defined as the start of the season and the beach, barbecues and good times that the warm weather brings, it’s of vital importance that we pause to reflect on the meaning of it all.
To date, the U.S. Department of Defense has identified 1,964 American service members who have died as a part of the war in Afghanistan, and almost 4,477 people who have died since the start of the Iraq War.
These are men and women who willingly put their lives on the line to protect what we are lucky enough to have here at home. They go into harm’s way, experience the horrors of war, and sometimes, tragically, they make the ultimate sacrifice.
This year, Memorial Day is extra special for those of us on the East End, as we have the statewide recognition of two of our own to be proud of.
Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter, of Sag Harbor, and Army 1st Lieutenant Joseph J. Theinert, of Shelter Island, were both recently inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame. Both men, who died so young in Iraq and Afghanistan respectively, exemplify what it means to give your life for your country.
But let us not forget the veterans and the fallen soldiers who came before them. Since the Civil War, when this annual holiday first began, our country has been through wars and conflicts that have brought many Sag Harborites into conflict zones.
They gave their lives for us, and now it’s our duty to pay our respects to them.
So on Monday, as you enjoy a day away from the office, basking in the sunshine, strolling by the bay, take pause and remember those who gave their lives for what we’re able to enjoy.
This week, the first applicant to test drive Sag Harbor’s brand new chicken law came before the village planning board seeking approval to keep three hens in her backyard.
But she went away disappointed, and we can only believe it’s because there’s something off about the way this law was hatched.
While the applicant — the same individual who championed legalizing chickens in the village in the first place — met all requirements for hen ownership, including coop set back, the building inspector’s interpretation of the law deemed her ineligible to do so legally.
And that makes us question either the law’s intent or its wording.
The law states that the number of chickens “shall not exceed six per 20,000 square-feet of lot area.” So does that mean your lot has to be at least 20,000 square feet to keep even one chicken? The building inspector seems to think so, and the applicant’s lot is only around 13,000 square feet.
Frankly, we’re not sure if this was the intent of the law, or not. But we find it hard to believe the code would be so restrictive given the fact that a majority of properties in Sag Harbor Village are well under the 20,000 square feet (which is about half an acre).
What’s the point in passing a law if most of the constituents that law applies to can’t even qualify?
We can’t imagine the intent was to preclude the majority of homeowners in Sag Harbor from being able to keep chickens. So perhaps the village needs to go back to the drawing board to amend the code and make it clearer — not only for the building inspector, but for the rest of us who love chickens.