There were only a handful of people attending the Brookfield Village Board meeting and the meetings aren’t televised these days, so it might have gone completely unnoticed.
Except that an eagle-eyed reporter happened to look up while Trustee C.P. Hall was delivering remarks on the village’s latest check register and saw something a little unusual.
Below each member of the village board on the big wooden dais where trustees, the village president and village clerk sit during meetings is a little name-plate holder. For each meeting, trustees slide small nameplates into the holders, identifying them for the four or five people who always show up and already know who they are.
But the nameplate below C.P. Hall didn’t say, “C.P. Hall, Village Trustee.” It said, “Je Suis Charlie.”
French for “I am Charlie,” the sentence pays tribute to the 12 employees of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo massacred by a pair of terrorists in Paris last week.
Asked what prompted him to make the symbolic statement at the board table, Hall said he did it to show solidarity with the tens of thousands of people who marched in Paris last weekend to send the message that such acts wouldn’t cow with a free press.
“I just think this is something we should support,” said Hall, whose name actually is Charlie and who said he had the name plate made at a Brookfield business.
Hall also took the opportunity to take a shot at President Barack Obama for the administration’s failure to send a high-ranking official to the massive rally in Paris on Sunday.
“When you do post-graduate work at the Benning School for Boys,” said Hall, referring to his days as a U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam War who trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, “the word is ‘Follow Me.’ When they do it at Harvard Law School, it’s ‘après vouz’ [after you] and that’s why we had nobody representing us in Paris.”