The city of Kellogg will accept an offer from the owner of Dave Smith Motors to donate three new flagpoles to the city – one for the American flag, one for the state flag and one for the Tree City USA flag.
All three will fly in Memorial Park, where a flagpole stood empty last week, symbolizing a dispute between the city and veterans.
The city’s relocation of a war memorial and decision to fly a Tree City flag instead of an American flag in Memorial Park upset veterans so much that they are seeking to recall all six council members and the mayor.
In a six-page letter to the citizens of Kellogg on Monday, the city reiterated that it did nothing wrong and was only trying to abide by veterans’ wishes when it moved a war memorial from Memorial Park to a new veterans memorial nearby. The letter had 11 footnotes, including historic lease documents, city correspondence and minutes of council meetings, to document its decision-making process.
“The Mayor and City Council feel we have done nothing to dishonor the United States of America or any Veteran or any citizen of Kellogg,” reads the letter, signed by the six council members and by Mayor Mac Pooler. “By our actions we have provided for a greater appreciation of the original veterans memorial and the issue of the improper display of the United States flag has been resolved.”
Veterans groups last Wednesday removed the Tree City flag from the flagpole and replaced it with an American flag. City crews took the American flag down Thursday but did not put the Tree City flag back up.
In the letter, city officials explained how they felt the problem had resulted from different requests being made by different groups of veterans. The letter documented a request by veterans to either remove the Tree City flag or place it on a separate flagpole that one veterans group said it would provide. A third option requested moving the memorial, but a spokesman for the veterans group insisted that was considered a last resort if the city couldn’t be convinced to remove the Tree City flag.
Pooler said the American flag will fly from the flagpole on Memorial Day Monday, and city officials hope to meet soon with the veterans to resolve their differences. Those discussions likely will include whether the stone war memorial and plaque will be moved back to its original location in Memorial Park, Pooler said.