CRANFORD, NJ – Cranford Mayor Thomas Hannen Jr. addressed the violent white supremacist rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia during last week’s Cranford Township Committee meeting.

His speech followed a public comment from resident John Pritchard, who regularly attends the meetings to honor veterans of the Vietnam war and voice his request for a new hospital.

“Seven sons from Cranford lost their lives fighting in Vietnam,” Pritchard said. “When our soldiers returned, they were called Nazis, murderers and baby-killers. We should have backed our men and we need to back our men now.”

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Hannen tied Pritchard’s comments into his own, saying the violent rally should shake Americans to their core.

“The township committee has the opportunity to listen to Mr. Pritchard remind us of the sacrifices our veterans made for this nation,” Hannen said. “One of the things he continues to remind us of is the comments made about Vietnam veterans coming back. Although I never heard it myself, he refers to them being called Nazis. This past weekend, in Charlottesville, Virginia, occurred a series of incidents that I think should shake this nation to its core. The lack of tolerance that was shown to people who came out with religious organizations to oppose the neo-Nazis that Mr. Pritchard reminds us of is something that we need to look deep into our souls and discover what type of nation we really are. I hope you will remember those people who were injured by that car that struck the crowd in your prayers and remember the individual who passed away.”

A 32-year-old counter protestor, Heather Hayer, was killed during the rally. Two state troopers also died in a helicopter crash while patrolling the area.