POW Banner Replaces And Residents Aren’t Happy

Residents of the Buffalo, N.Y., suburb of Hamburg, N.Y., were outraged this past weekend when a Pride flag replaced the POW/MIA banner that has flown for many years above the town hall.

The Hamburg Coalition for Equity and Inclusion had raised the Pride flag at the building on Friday, marking the beginning of Pride month. However, the Pride flag replaced a POW/MIA flag, causing an uproar among members of the town board, WGRZ reported.

I am alarmed and saddened to learn that the POW/MIA flag that flew with our American flag at Town Hall was removed yesterday to fly another flag, Beth Farrell wrote in a Facebook post.There were other ways that the Pride flag could have been displayed without showing disrespect to our Veterans, POW, and MIA. Creating unnecessary controversy involving our veterans and the Pride flag could and should have been avoided.

Upon hearing of the town board's disapproval, Hamburg Town Supervisor Randy Hoak quickly assured residents that the replacement of the POW/MIA flag was a misunderstanding.

Prior to the ceremony, it became apparent that the POW/MIA flag was frayed and tattered and in need of replacement, Hoak said.The damaged flag was removed and immediately delivered to the Town Clerk for proper disposal and swift replacement. The Town had no intention of removing the POW/MIA flag, even temporarily.

Along with Hoak, Town Clerk Cathy Rybczynski stated that the grounds crew had noticed the POW/MIA flag was damaged and asked her to make arrangements for its disposal.

The damage and replacement of the POW/MIA flag had residents up in arms. Many veterans expressed their disapproval of the replacement of the flag and one even allegedly slapped Hoak in his outrage. Hoak was later charged with harassment.

Nonetheless, on Monday a new POW/MIA flag was flying outside Hamburg Town Hall alongside the American flag and the Pride flag.

Happy Pride, Hamburg! the Hamburg Coalition for Equity and Inclusion wrote on Facebook.Join Hamburg Coalition for Equity and Inclusion HCEI as we raise the flag in recognition and celebration of all LGBTQ+ citizens.

The Pride flag may have still raised some controversy in Hamburg, N.Y., but it appears that both the American and POW/MIA flags can still stand together in unity.

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