Residents Outraged After POW/MIA Flag Removed From Town Hall
A Hudson Valley town is swirling with controversy after officials remove the POW/MIA flag from in front of town hall.
According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, word started making its way through Rhinebeck on Monday after some residents noticed the flag was no longer flying. Immediately, people assumed the flag was taken down for suspicious reasons, but government officials claim that is not the case at all.
In this age of hypersensitivity over everything, people seem to be offended over every decision. Elizabeth Spinzia, the Town of Rhinebeck supervisor, told the Poughkeepsie Journal that the town has received numerous requests from special interest groups to fly their flags in front of town hall. These groups argued that if the POW/MIA flag was being flown, they should also have their flag displayed in the public space as well.
To settle the problem, Rhinebeck officials have decided to follow New York State law for flying the flag. The law says that the POW/MIA flag must fly only on certain holidays. The flag, however, will continue to fly year-round at the town's war memorial park. This way, the American Flag will stand on its own to represent all groups without having to fly a special flag for every special interest.
The explanation most likely won't stop the backlash the town has received. In the current political climate everyone seems to wind up being angry over every decision.
There are still unanswered questions on both side of this debate.
It's unclear which other organizations actually petitioned the town about flying a flag. Was this a real concern, or just an excuse to take the POW/MIA flag down? On the other hand, most communities don't fly a separate POW/MIA flag in front of their town hall and there's no controversy over it. If Rhinebeck really had a secret agenda to disrespect prisoners of war, why would they continue to fly the flag at the war memorial in town? Also, why would residents automatically assume the people who dedicate their time to serve the public would have some secret plan to disrespect prisoners of war? Seriously.
Perhaps this is just another example of two sides trying to do the right thing, but failing to listen to each other over all of the political noise. Unfortunately, this seems to be the new normal in America.