Wildwood mayor reveals why he wants the Kate Smith statue
Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano had a hell of week starting with is refusal to stop playing Kate Smith's "God Bless America' despite the racial accusations cast on the singer, and his attempt to bring her statue, which the Flyers are taking down outside the Wells Fargo Center, to his fair city.
Troiano has received hundreds of e-mails and about 80 phone calls and says he's answered every one. Among those was a conversation with Bill Spadea, and the conversation that we had on Thursday night when he came on my show and revealed why he wants the statue.
"The thing I'm most proud of in my community, we're colorblind. We don't care who you are, what you are or where you come from, what your religion is, whoever you are, you're invited here to have a great time, we're all about having fun," Troiano said. So when the idea came up about changing Smith's version of "God Bless America," Troiano says. "My knee jerk reaction was no, I'm not changing the song."
Then the mayor checked with the mayor of North Wildwood Patrick Rosenello, who also didn't want to change the song. Then he checked with his veteran leaders saying, "Guys you took the bullets, you took the bombs, you took the health issues, I watch my friends die from agent orange." They said, "do not change the song, the song means a lot to us."
Mayor Troiano says he's had overwhelming support in his decision to keep playing the song.
"It's probably 98 percent if not more of support," Mayor Troiano said, but he didn't stop there. He started investigating who Kate Smith really was. Something the Flyers and Yankees should have done before they did what they did. What Troiano found was that, "She was under contract and required to sing those songs, After that I looked at the over 520,000 miles she traveled entertaining the troops, she brought in over 600 million dollars worth of war bond money to help finance the war and all of the proceeds from Smith's 'God Bless America' go to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, That song has no racial overtones to it at all."
So what about the others?
"I don't see this racist person, I see something where in the day this was permissive, is it permissive today no because we have history and now they want to erase history."
Troiano, like most, doesn't see Smith as a racist.
"In fact I see her as someone who was given the Medal Of Freedom and who is not here to defend herself," Troiano said. "You just don't throw somebody in the trash because someone along the line was offended."
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