Wildwood American Legion petitions to bring Kate Smith statue to town

WILDWOOD, N.J. (WPVI) -- The Wildwood American Legion Post 184 has created a petition to bring the controversial Kate Smith statue to town.

"God Bless America represents every veteran," says Post Commander Harry Weimar. "Every veteran is affected by this. As far as I am concerned, Kate Smith is Miss Patriotism."

On Tuesday night, Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. told Action News he welcomes the statue in his city if it's available.

"If it's available we would be interested in having it. The outcry of the people has piqued my interest," the mayor said.

The Kate Smith statue was taken down over the weekend at the Wells Fargo Center amid allegations of racism against the 1930s star with a popular recording of "God Bless America."

The mayor's comments come as some sports teams, including the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Flyers, have stopped playing Smith's version of the song amid conflicting claims about several of her tunes, including her 1939 hit "That's Why the Darkies Were Born."

Now the American Legion is standing with Troiano in hopes of bringing the statue to Wildwood.

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Wildwood mayor wants controversial Kate Smith statue if available. Bob Brooks has more on Action News at 5 p.m. on April 24, 2019.

"I agree with Mayor Troiano. I feel Wildwood is a very veteran friendly City and there would be no bigger honor than to have Kate Smith here in Wildwood," said Weimar. "Myself and Post 184 fully support the Mayor. There is no other non-veteran that I know who supports the veterans as much as Ernie does."

Action News has reached out to the Wells Fargo Center regarding Wildwood obtaining the statue but we have not heard back.

To sign the petition, CLICK HERE.
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