HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — Protests have been risen in Hamburg over the past few days from residents due to a controversy over flags in front of the town’s city hall.
The controversy began on Friday when local veterans noted that a POW/MIA flag had been taken down and a pride flag had been put up.
Local officials say the flag was taken down because it was tattered, but veterans were outraged. Officials say one veteran stopped by the ceremony when the pride flag was put up and slapped Hamburg Town Supervisor Randy Hoak. He was charged with harassment.
“It is true there was a member of the VFW that did lay hands on me while I was trying to protect a veteran that was here for the pride flag-raising ceremony,” Hoak said.
One veteran said that he does not have a problem with the LGBTQ+ community, but that a pride flag should not be on the same pole as the American flag.
“I have no problem with the pride flag. But I do not think it belongs anywhere on the same pole as the American flag with the POW. Sorry. It’s wrong,” said John Arcadipane of VFW Post 419.
Hamburg officials say that a new POW/MIA flag is on its way, but local veterans are still planning to hold a protest against Hoak on Saturday.
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Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.