OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) – Oshkosh City Council members say they didn’t know councilwoman Caroline Panske was going to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance at a city council meeting Wednesday.
“I had no idea this was happening, nor did any of the council,” said Oshkosh Mayor Steve Cummings. “As far as why she did it, you’re going to have to talk to her. I don’t know why she did this.”
Panske explained why she felt she couldn’t stand during that portion of the meeting.
“The last portion of the Pledge of Allegiance states ‘indivisible with liberty and justice for all,’ and in this heated of a political environment, it’s hard to believe that right now,” said Panske.
But Mayor Cummings doesn’t think it was appropriate for her to bring political beliefs into a city meeting.
“We are totally, totally non-partisan. We are elected at large. Our job is to serve the citizens of Oshkosh,” said Cummings. “Regardless of your political leanings, you park those at the front door when you walk into city hall.”
Veterans Friday in Outagamie County showed their respect to the Pledge of Allegiance during a Veterans Day program.
“I think when you’re talking about the Pledge of Allegiance and flags people serve that, I think we need to honor those people,” said Army Veteran Jerry Anderson.
Anderson believes there are other ways to display your beliefs, like starting a group or talking to your local congressmen.
Panske says she will not sit again for the pledge and hopes people speak to her when they disagree with what she did.
“If somebody really wants to know what my frame of mind was in that moment, please reach out and contact me,” Panske said. “Let’s have a conversation about this.”
The council will meet again on Nov. 22.