Local News

Residents criticize removal of Armed Service flags at Fort Wayne VA hospital to make way for Pride flag

(Caleb Hatch/WOWO News)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO)  Concerns were raised this morning by some upset over a rainbow flag displayed outside the VA hospital in Fort Wayne.

But it’s not necessarily about the flag itself, apparently. WOWO News received word from several people that the flag, placed on a pole outside the hospital in honor of “Pride Month,” replaced service flags representing each branch of the Armed Forces.

But we also received conflicting reports from employees of the hospital… some said that was the truth, others said the flagpoles in that part of the campus are always empty, except for special occasions.

WOWO News made several efforts to request a comment from the VA, but we received no response. Fort Wayne’s NBC, however, did, with confirmation that flags dedicated to the Armed Services were in fact removed:

“We are aware of concerns voiced by some of our employees and Veterans about the Service Flags removed outside of the Fort Wayne campus. As we are committed to serving all Veterans and June is LGBT awareness month, we are flying the flag that represents and honors these Veterans as a display of solidarity and respect for their service. 

We all serve this nation.

Due to limitations in the number of flag poles outside our VA, the Service Flags were lowered temporarily. Rather than take one flag down temporarily, it was determined to lower all the flags so as to be equal. The one flag will fly for the day until 5 p.m. and signify that we treat all our Veterans equally. We greatly appreciate our Veterans’ and employees’ passion and loyalty for their individual services.  

Today, we honor our LGBT Veterans and their service.”

WOWO News got word this afternoon that the Armed Service flags were being reinstalled.


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Sandi June 12, 2018 at 4:25 pm

The original order, from the director of the Northern Indiana VA Health System, was to remove the service flags for the rest of the month, not just one day. I’m sure the outside pressure was too much and he backtracked, stating that it was only going to be for today. I thought that all the US military branches were already inclusive of LGBT personnel. So why an exclusive flag? How many other specific interests groups is he going to remove the military service branch flags to make way for? I, for one, would like to know why he didn’t decide to fly a black pride flag for black history month.

James D Edmonds November 15, 2018 at 11:24 am

Great Sandi. Stand up for what is right. God bless you.

Buck June 13, 2018 at 9:16 am

The Red, White and Blue American flag is all that is needed. It represents all citizens of America. It’s as simple as that. For those that doesn’t resonate with, leave.

Dale Marcum June 14, 2018 at 9:06 am


Terry P June 14, 2018 at 10:21 am

On a fundamental level I must agree with Sandi. I understand her point as being why is this done exclusively for one special interest group? I personally feel that no flag should take the place of the branch flags at a VA hospital. It is disrespectful to the branches of our military to replace their flag with anything else. I also feel that no special interest flags should be flown at a VA hospital or military base period. That being said The stated reason for taking down the branch flags is ridiculous. If they insisted on flying this special interest groups flag for one day they could have easily put up a temporary pole to do so. While I believe strongly in the first amendment and the allowance it gives people to speak freely in what they believe. It does not give them the right to disrespect the rights of others who honor this nation and the flag that represents it. I realize in this case we are not talking about the American flag but those branch flags also are important to those who served. I do believe in respecting every persons rights but I feel we have went overboard trying to be too politically correct and as a result other peoples rights and beliefs are being violated.

Jimmy HAMAS Committee (Honoring America's Military and Veterans) Edmonds November 15, 2018 at 11:26 am

Well said Terry. God bless.

Dawn June 14, 2018 at 11:51 am

When you single out any group you put a wedge in this nation, add the rainbow flag but do not remove the US flag or Military flags…shame on anyone who adds another wedge

Curt June 15, 2018 at 12:40 pm

The Military Flags should NEVER be removed, for any reason! The person(s) that made the decision to do this should be GONE!

Legina Treece June 15, 2018 at 7:21 pm

I am inflamed and disgusted that our flags were taken down in the VA Hospital. It was an insult to our servicemen. I come from a long line of service men going back to the Revolutionary war and the US flag and each of our service flags should never be replaced. Someone needs to be called out for this one because they are not a patriot and certainly don’t need to be in a job at the VA. The Va hospitals are for our service men to get help not to make a political statement.My husband was in the Army and also worked for the VA hospital and this behavior would never have been allowed 15 years ago.

Judy Gay June 16, 2018 at 1:33 pm

The LGBT flag is not a flag representing a branch of service or our veterans. The LGBT flag represents a way of life chosen by a group of people. The American flag and military flags should NEVER be replaced at a VA by any flag that is not the American flag or our military flags. This is a slap in the face to our veterans.

Joe Smith September 10, 2018 at 11:12 am

I am a disabled veteran, and i fully agree with all of this comments post. I only have one thing to say to all of you special interest groups, When you have put your self in are boots and done the thing that we veterans have done, then maybe we can put it below the american flag, but until then, take your special interests and piss off!


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