COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WKRN) – For years, the veterans clinic in Columbia flew the American and P.O.W. flags side-by-side in front of the Nashville Highway building.
But according to retired U.S. Army Sgt. Larry Nicholson, the flags disappeared. He told News 2 they have been gone for months.
And when asked about it, a woman who works next door told News 2 she’s been there since April and has never seen any flag on the pole.
Nicholson, who served in the Army for 20 years and retired in 1993, says he asked a veterans affair staff member where the flags went.
The 67-year-old said he was told the flags were taken down because there was a concern there might be a traffic incident.
“Why ain’t the flag flying? They took it down. I thought the pole was broken or something,” Nicholson told News 2. “This is a VA unit. The flag should be flying. Soldiers served, died, and protected that flag all these years.”
He added, “I felt good I honored it for 20 years. I defended it for 20 years.”
News 2 asked about the flag and below is the full response from the Maury County VA Clinic:
Some of our visitors may have noticed the flags in front of our clinic have been removed. Maury County VA Clinic staff discovered damage on the U.S. and POW/MIA flags located at the clinic, and per guidelines on maintaining proper flag display, promptly removed them. The flagpole is in close proximity to a light pole, which caused wear and tear to the flags. Clinic staff continues to assess the feasibility of relocating the flagpole to a more suitable location. In the meantime, we are working to replace the flags expeditiously. It is a privilege to serve veterans and visitors who come through the VA clinic doors every day, and their input and observations are appreciated. Staff recognizes the importance of honoring veterans and our nation by proper flag display. The U.S. and POW/MIA flags are permanently displayed in the lobby of the clinic.
When pressed as to why the flags were removed, the spokeswoman referred us back to the same statement.
Nicholson said they should put the flag back up since the veterans are the ones who defended it.