By Mary McGuire

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — David Gohman has made his home in St. Louis Park for nearly 30 years. The American flags that adorn his garden aren’t just decorations.

“It represents a lot to this country. Freedom,” Gohman said.

He lives on Flag Avenue and holds traditions like the Pledge of Allegiance close to his heart.

“I think it should be said every time, whether it is in school or meetings or whatever,” he said. “We owe it to the country.”

Some council members in his city don’t feel the same way. Five members voted during the June 17 meeting to drop the pledge from their meetings.

“In order to create a more welcoming environment to a diverse community, we are going to forgo saying the Pledge of Allegiance before every meeting,” said Council Member Tim Brausen.

At the meeting, Brausen said members might recite it in the future if there’s an appropriate opportunity, like if Boy Scouts are there.

Ellen Hertz, a business owner in the city, says she has no problem with the change, but doesn’t think it was necessary.

“In terms of what would offend people and what offends me, that’s not at the top of the list,” Hertz said.

The change was approved unanimously by city council in a 5 to 0 vote. It will take effect on July 15. Mayor Jake Spano wasn’t at the meeting when this change was approved. He says getting rid of the pledge wasn’t a big priority for him.

Spano gave WCCO-TV this statement via email: “I think there are more substantive things we should be working on to make our city more open and welcoming.”

Watch the meeting below:

Mary McGuire