Senator Hutchinson: Honor All Veterans – Reopen Flag Manufacturer

As Memorial Day approaches and communities across the Commonwealth deal with a shortage of flags for veterans’ graves, Senator Scott Hutchinson is calling on the Wolf Administration to ease the restrictions barring a Pennsylvania flag manufacturer from shipping its products.

FlagZone, located in Gilbertsville, Berks County, is a leading manufacturer of high-quality U.S. flags of all sizes. The facility was determined to be “non-life sustaining” by the Wolf Administration and shuttered by the statewide closure order in March.

“Memorial Day is a sacred holiday. One where we honor the sacrifice made by service members throughout our nation’s history,” Senator Hutchinson said. “I see no reason why the time-honored and solemn tradition of placing flags at veterans’ graves could not be continued this year. FlagZone’s president said that shipping the flags would require very few staff and could be done safely.  Certainly placing the flags in cemeteries could be done while practicing the social distancing Governor Wolf recommends.  I strongly urge the Administration to reconsider FlagZone’s waiver application and ensure that all Pennsylvania veterans receive the honors they deserve.”

Senator Hutchinson cited a constituent’s e-mail as indicative of the concerns being raised in communities across the Commonwealth regarding the potential shortage of flags for Memorial Day.

“My family and I have for years put flags on the veterans’ graves in the cemeteries in St Petersburg, Foxburg and Chestnut Ridge. This year when I called the Clarion County Courthouse, I was told they were out of flags and probably wouldn’t have any more in before Memorial Day,” the constituent wrote. “I gathered up the leftover flags I had from previous years and asked a local funeral director if he could give me some flags. Yesterday and today, I was able to place flags on all veterans’ graves at all three cemeteries. However, tonight when I sat down to read the news, I became upset at what I saw and went online to see if the story was true. Sure enough, I found it. “Veterans’ Graves Could Go Unhonored on Memorial Day as Pennsylvania officials tell Flag Makers They Can’t Ship US Flags.” As a 50 year-old man sitting here crying as I type this email, thinking that there will be veterans’ graves in our Commonwealth that won’t have a flag this Memorial Day, it upsets me.”

“I understand his feelings and I share them,” Senator Hutchinson said. “We, as a state, must never forget our heroes. The definition of ‘life-sustaining’ would likely be the least of our concerns if our fallen heroes had not sacrificed their lives for our nation.”

Senator Hutchinson’s Letter to the Governor 

 

Contact:            Justin Leventry jleventry@pasen.gov