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Confederate flag removed from Post Falls American Legion after visiting veteran complains

Spokesman-Review - 3/22/2023

Mar. 21—A Confederate flag that had been part of a display at the American Legion in Post Falls was removed Monday after a visitor voiced concerns online.

According to the American Legion, numerous flags had been displayed in the Post 143 banquet room for at least 20 years, with some more added over the years. The flags commemorate the conflicts that the country has been involved in, the American Legion said in a statement.

"As soon as this issue came to our attention, the flag was removed from the display," the American Legion statement said. "The flags in the historical section are there to represent the United States military history, per American Legion tradition."

Tim Shaw, an American Legion spokesman and adjutant at Post No. 143 said the banquet room includes about 50 different flags from throughout American history. Shaw said he and the post commander had a conversation and decided to remove the flag after the concern was brought up.

The person who complained, JD Leighty, an Army veteran from Spokane, was at Post 143 for a private event with some family over the weekend when another veteran pointed out what they thought was the Confederate battle flag.

"It started causing a bit of a stir amongst the crowd," Leighty said. "I'm looking at that going, 'You know, I don't know if that should be in an American Legion,' but I don't know what the rules were."

Leighty tweeted out the photo to the American Legion's national headquarters.

Shaw, a Navy veteran, said the whole thing has been "misrepresented," adding that Post 143 honors a variety of veterans from various backgrounds. Most people aren't even aware that there was a Confederate flag there, he said.

"I don't want to give in to the mob, but I don't want to offend anyone either," Shaw said. "If we had left it up, it would have been a bigger story. It's a no-win situation."

Shaw said he wished Leighty had spoken to an American Legion representative at Post 143 instead of inviting more criticism.

However, Leighty said he wasn't sure if that would have made a difference.

"If I hadn't posted on social media, I wonder if they would have done anything," he said.


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