Five Congressional Republicans from Mississippi are seeking to remove a pride flag that was erected over the Biloxi National Cemetery in honor of Pride Month by the Department of Veterans Affairs, calling its presence “disrespectful.”
“Replacing the United States flag with a flag that promotes a particular sexual or gender identity goes against the very mission of national cemeteries,” the GOP leaders wrote in a letter to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis R. McDonough.
“These sites were established to be a shrine ‘sacred to the honor and memory of those interred or memorialized there.’ Cemeteries should be places for reflection and respect, not public virtue signaling,” the letter continued.
McDonough reportedly sent a memo to multiple VA facilities. encouraging them to display the pride flag throughout the month of June in honor of Pride month, WLOX reported. The decision to display the flag, however, was left to the individual facilities.
Last June, I raised the Pride Flag at VA Central Office in Washington, D.C. This year, I authorized all VA-owned facilities to fly it for up to 30 days in June #Pride2022
— Secretary Denis McDonough (@SecVetAffairs) June 1, 2022
A spokesman for the Biloxi VA defended the display of the pride flag that has replaced one of the American flags marking the entrance to the cemetery, telling WLOX News that it is a symbol of inclusion. The spokesman added that all veterans should know, ”If you wore the uniform, the VA is here for you.”
“Diversity inclusion has always been a part of the day, but every June, we celebrate the LGBTQ Recognition Month. And so as part of that recognition, we decided to put the LGBTQ flag up,” Chief of Community and Public Affairs Sean Shank told WAPT News.
“There’s nothing more military than that flag, because not only does it recognize a group of veterans that have been traditionally marginalized by society, but the person who created the flag was also an Army veteran,” Shank continued.
The five GOP Congressional leaders – Sens. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith as well as Reps. Ezell, Michael Guest and Trent Kelly argued that replacing the American flag with the Pride flag on Memorial Day in preparation for Pride month showed “deep disrespect to our service members, veterans and their families.” (RELATED: Biden Admin Flies Pride Flag At US Embassy In The Vatican)
Calling its placement a “political stunt,” the Congressional leaders demanded the Pride flag be taken down and the American flag restored to its rightful place. “Our veterans expect the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide services, not promote controversial ideologies,” they wrote.