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Facebook post of tattered flag in park leads to removal

Facebook post of tattered flag in park leads to removal

(Courtesy: WIVB) (Courtesy: WIVB)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – How does an American flag get so forgotten and neglected, it takes a picture of it posted on Facebook to get the flag taken down?

Local officials say there were crossed wires that led to the “glory” getting rained, snowed, and bleached out from “Old Glory” flying over Riverside Park.

By United States flag etiquette, a tattered, shredded flag is a sign of disrespect, but thanks to a News 4 viewer who posted pictures of the weather-ravaged flag on WIVB’s Facebook page, it is over.

The flag at the south end of the park along Tonawanda St. was barely recognizeable–the old red, white, and blue tattered, torn, and faded.

Riverside is one of six Buffalo city parks managed by the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, and after Buffalo’s Department of Public Works was contacted about the flag, public works officials called Olmsted officials immediately.

The flag pole at Riverside Park is automated, the flag is raised and lowered by a motor, not by a rope, and the machinery is operated by a key.

Public Works Commissioner Steve Stepniak checked with his own crew at the park to see if there was a mechanical malfunction, but there was none.

“We immediately called Olmsted to replace that flag, and we will make sure that anytime a tattered flag is like that it should be removed, taken down, and immediately called in for a replacement flag.”

Stepniak is also directing Public Works staff to check for worn out flags, as a matter of routine, “I don’t know if that is something that just went unnoticed, but again there will be a directive sent out to all staff that if they see a tattered flag, please take it down, call us for a replacement.”

It is actually law that when an American flag is so worn it is no longer a worthy symbol of our the United States, it “should be destroyed in a dignified manner, preferably by burning.”

The tattered flag was removed, Tuesday afternoon, and it turns out, a possible reason the flag was flying long after its usefulness was because the key to operate the flag pole is kept by the baseball crew.

Olmsted officials plan to change that.