Pennsylvania's Democrat Gov Blocks Flag Company from Selling Memorial Day Flags
Governor rejects plea from flag co over shutdown of all 'non-life-sustaining' businesses
Pennsylvania's Democrat governor has rejected a plea from a flag company for special permission to sell their American-made flags for Memorial Day amid the state's lockdown.
FlagZone LLC near Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania, asked Gov. Tom Wolf to allow them to ship US-made flags for Memorial Day to be used for veterans’ graves in nearby Berks County and nationwide.
The governor refused to allow the company special permission to sell flags for Memorial Day observances, however, because of his order to shut down all "non-life-sustaining businesses" to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The USA-made flag company is one of the many businesses that Wolf ordered to close on March 19 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
FlagZone President Daniel Ziegler said he hoped the company would be granted permission to honor US vets.
“We want to be able to honor veterans as we do every year and as we’ve done across Pennsylvania and the nation,” Ziegler told the Reading Eagle on May 6.
The state provided its answer in a statement from the communications director at the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development to the MediaNews Group on Tuesday, according to News Thud.
“As the administration’s main priority is protecting the health and well-being of Pennsylvanians, flagmaking operations are thus deemed non-life-sustaining,” communications director Casey Smith said, according to the Eagle.
“While FlagZone will, unfortunately, need to suspend operations this year, we are hopeful that in the years to come, it will be able to continue to provide Pennsylvanians with a symbol of our patriotism for future Memorial Day celebrations.”
Ziegler said that his flags could be easily shipped on short notice if he could get a few workers back in the factory, but he’s not hopeful about his appeal.
“We’re trying everything we can to honor the veterans,” he said.
“Perhaps it will happen in June so we can celebrate them July 4.
"They (the flags) are in our warehouse and we can’t get them free.”
He added that any flags on the market would most likely be made in China and not in America.
Berks County Veterans Affairs administrator Ken Lebron said that he needs about 55,000 flags for Memorial Day ceremonies in over 200 cemeteries.
“Our purchasing department is also working with our solicitor to identify legal obligations to our signed contract with Flag Zone as it pertains to sourcing from another provider,” Lebron told the Eagle in an email.
“We will not be purchasing American flags made in China.”
The state also turned down a request from Colebrooke Enterprises, a sewing company that makes flags for FlagZone, to resume flag making as well as continue to make face masks.
“The people are here saying we’re making face masks, why can’t we make flags since we’re here?” company president Vincent Naso asked.
Wolf has extended stay-at-home orders for counties, including Berks and Montgomery counties, in the “red” zone through June 4.
Pennsylvanians protested Wolf’s actions at the Capitol on April 20 and again on Friday.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually on the last Monday of May.
While many use the day to honor all veterans for their service, Memorial Day actually commemorates those military servicemen and women who died while serving.