April 25, 2019
After Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. said he wouldn't stop playing late singer Kate Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" on the Wildwood Boardwalk, a petition has been created calling for the statue to permanently move to the shore town.
The petition, as of Thursday morning, has more than 750 signatures in support of moving the bronze statute — which has become a symbol of patriotism for some Wildwood residents — to Wildwood. The petition was created by veterans' organization American Legion Post 184.
"The removal of the statue is an attack on veterans who fought for this country," the petition states. "Without the veterans of this country, the American people would not know the freedoms they have today. Kate Smith traveled over 500,000 miles in her lifetime to perform for the troops. To us, she is Miss Patriotism."
The petition has a modest goal of collecting 1,000 signatures.
Troiano made a press tour earlier this week to show his support of Smith and her legacy, despite accusations that her songs are racist. which prompted the Philadelphia Flyers to remove Smith's statue from its platform outside the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly.
On Monday, Troiana appeared on the Dom Giordano Show on 1210 WPHT to talk about the controversy, saying "everyone wants to rewrite history." It was then that he confirmed that Wildwood would continue to play Smith's rendition of "God Bless America," from the speakers on the boardwalk every morning, because "the song is greater than anything."
"We have no intentions of removing ('God Bless America')," Troiano Jr. said on WPHT. "It's not a statement that we don't understand what's going on, or we're ignorant to the history and all that. We understand the history, but the world's gotten so politically correct and so afraid that they're going to offend somebody."