DANVERS (CBS) – A compromise has been forged in Danvers where veterans are upset that a POW/MIA flag outside Town Hall was replaced with a gay pride flag for the month of June.
The POW/MIA flag was taken down to mark Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual Pride Month.
“We just feel that spot to us is a sacred spot,” said World War II veteran Bruce Eaton, who believes the pride flag is more a political statement. “We think the public should be constantly reminded that these boys were the ones that preserved our right to hang banners and flags in places that we decide.”
It’s the second year the pride flag has flown, and it’s a point of pride for openly gay Selectman David Mills, who believes Danvers took a step forward.“I feel included, part of my own community and I feel more welcome here,” said Mills.
It was up to Town Manager Wayne Marquis to research flag etiquette and come up with a solution, saying the town wants to respect all viewpoints. “We did what we thought was appropriate and didn’t take into account the concerns that would be there,” said Marquis.
Since the POW/MIA flag can only be flown under the stars and stripes, the rainbow flag will be moved to another pole flying the Massachusetts state flag for the rest of the month, equally symbolic as the first state to legalize gay marriage.
Veterans believe even one day without their flag is one day too many. This compromise will be met with a more permanent solution for next year as a steering committee will be created to come up with a protocol.
“The public should be aware that they still are not home,” said Eaton.
When the flags are raised again on Friday, he says those missing will have a voice again.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports