Members of a small southern New Jersey town are sparring over a state-approved flag meant to honor U.S. soldiers killed in the line of duty.
Two years after Army SPC Benjamin Moore was killed in Afghanistan in 2011, his parents presented Bordentown, N.J., with two newly state-adopted "Honor and Remember" flags, The Trentonian reported.
One flag was meant to be displayed in City Hall, while the other was intended to be placed at the Veterans Memorial in Bordertown, according to the newspaper.
The "Honor and Remember" flag was designed by George Lutz of Chesapeake, Va., after his son, Cpl. "Tony" Lutz, was shot and killed by a sniper in Iraq in 2005. Lutz's mission is to "create, establish and promote a nationally recognized flag that would fly continuously as a visible reminder to all Americans of the lives lost in defense of our national freedoms," according to the flag's website.
In 2013, Pat and Amy Moore, of Bordentown, bought and donated the flags to the town that had buried their son with an outpouring of respect and honor, the newspaper reported.
The Veterans Memorial Committee said in a letter to the Moores that the flag would be displayed, according to the newspaper, but never delivered on its promise.
Upon hearing rumors that the committee had quietly struck down plans to hang it, the Moores attended a June meeting of the Veterans Committee to learn more. After a heated exchange between Bordentown Mayor Joe Malone and the Moores' family friend, one member of the Veterans Committee voiced his opinion directly to the family.
Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Hofrichter, who is stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, said to the couple, "'You want to know who has a problem with this flag? I have a problem with this flag!'" according to Pat Moore.
"He stared at my wife and told her that the flag would single out certain individuals on that wall (of the Veterans Memorial), and that he lost friends and family to war, and that only the American flag represents them, not the Honor and Remember flag," Pat Moore told the newspaper.
Shortly after, the Veterans Committee reportedly penned a letter to the Moores, formally declined their request to fly the flag and claimed it was "fundamentally flawed" and not made of durable flag material, according to the newspaper.
"That was just adding insult to injury," Amy Moore told the paper. "Why did they have to mention that at all? This flag is not about our Ben. This flag is about honoring and remembering ALL veterans who died in war, not just our son. That was a low blow for them to write that."
The mayor, meanwhile, is backing the committee, telling the newspaper that, "You appoint committees to make these kinds of decisions ... The policies and procedures for our Veterans Memorial are set by the Veterans Committee. A decision was made by that committee and I have to respect that decision."