Restriction of “Taps” in York Co. borough could lead to lawsuit by the ACLU of Pennsylvania

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GLEN ROCK, Pa. -- The sound of "Taps" silenced, except for one day a week at Lt. Commander Joshua Corney's home in Glen Rock, York County.

Borough council members voted to only allow Corney to play on Sundays and flag holidays, saying Corney is violating a nuisance ordinance.

Corney said, "I felt like I was being discriminated against. Some things are being allowed, but 'Taps' is not being allowed, and it bothered me."

Now the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania is getting involved, writing a letter to council saying the Navy lieutenant commander's rights are being taken away.

Vic Walczak, the legal director of ACLU of Pennsylvania, said, "His lawnmower makes more noise than the music that he plays, and for the borough to single out his expression here is a really clear violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution."

Walczak said if council doesn't rescind its decision by the end of the week, the organization will take legal action.

"When we heard about the censorship going on it made absolutely no sense, and every once in a while it's important to remind people that freedom of speech is important, and it includes more than just the spoken word," he said.

The legal director said Glen Rock borough council sent a letter saying it can't make a decision before July 19, but the ACLU deadline stands.

In the meantime, John Rizzo, a Vietnam War veteran, is taking up the responsibility of playing "Taps" on the nights Corney is not allowed to.

Rizzo said, "I had to support because Taps has a place in my heart, being a veteran, that words just can't explain."

Corney said the first night Rizzo played "Taps" it brought tears to his eyes.

"It was nice to have that tune ring because it signified to me that my brothers and sisters have my back," Corney said.

Rizzo said, "That's the way I was with him playing it. And we got so used to it every evening at 7:55 p.m."

Some people who live in Glen Rock are hoping council members have a change of heart.

Rizzo said, "So this is something that's just so deep, how can people not take 50 seconds?"

We reached out to the Glen Rock borough council president, and he said due to the potential litigation, the borough is unable to comment at this time.