Flagpoles on a New York highway were restored Monday after hundreds of veterans and community members complained about their removal prior to a statewide American Legion conference.
The three flags originally flew along I-490 near Rochester, New York, but were removed on July 13 due to “rigging and lighting issues,” according to a News10 NBC report.
Veterans and community members, however, did not agree with the decision to remove the poles instead of fixing them. Several members also volunteered to help with the maintenance of the area around the flag.
“We have discussed the possibility of having an outside entity or veterans’ organization take over the maintenance of these flagpoles in our right-of-way, however, it’s been determined that it would be too dangerous to do so,” New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Spokesman Jordan Guerrein told News10 NBC. “Like every decision we make here at NYSDOT, this boils down to the safety of not only our maintenance crews, but the traveling public.”
Vietnam veteran Jerry Lamb said that if it’s not too dangerous for people to adopt-a-highway, it’s not too dangerous for people to help raise a flag there, according to News10 NBC. Lamb also questioned the state’s focus on removing American flags when it was supposed to remove”“I Love New York” tourism signs that cost taxpayers over $8 million.
Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo was appalled by the removal of the flags while Republican New York state Sen. Joe Robach was “surprised that those [flagpoles] were taken down without any explanation,” according to News10 NBC.
This is not the first time community members had problems related to the local flags. Local Afghan War veteran Steve McAlpin explained that the flagpoles have remained empty for the past six to seven years because NYSDOT did not have time to maintain the flags monthly, News10 NBC reported on July 5.
The state changed its mind and decided to reinstall two of the three flag poles according to a Monday report. They are still searching for a permanent location to safely maintain all three flagpoles.
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