VFW upset with MnDOT after being ordered to remove American flags from overpasses

Palmer Lake veterans feel like MnDOT is treading on them.
Palmer Lake veterans feel like MnDOT is treading on them.

For eight years, the Palmer Lake VFW flew the stars and stripes on the Highway 610 overpass in Brooklyn Park. But in April, MnDOT ordered that the flag, along with four others, come down.

The reason? MnDOT cited a state statute that makes it illegal to "paint, print, place or affix any advertisement or object within the limits of a highway." Palmer Lake veterans complied with the order, but they're not happy and are planning a let-us-fly-the-flag-once-again rally this Sunday.

Lee Ulferts, former commander of the Palmer Lake VFW, told WCCO that he "was outraged, especially when the person called from MnDOT. I told him, 'Certainly we can make an exception for the American flag.' His reply was, 'What if somebody wanted to fly the Iraqi flag?'"

"For eight years, it's not been a distraction," Ulferts added.

Reinhardt is organizing a pro-flag rally this weekend.
Reinhardt is organizing a pro-flag rally this weekend.

Sunday's rally -- scheduled to take place on overpasses along Highway 610 at Broadway, Zane, Regent, Noble, 85th Avenue North, and Highway 252 at 6 p.m. -- was organized by Andrew Reinhardt, a Gulf War veteran who is running for the Minnesota House this year as a Republican.

On his website, Reinhardt, who is running against DFL incumbent Melissa Hortman, writes that he believes in "freedom, liberty, and suburban values." He thinks "families must live within their means, and government needs to as well," adding that he's "fed up with the suburbs being abused as an ATM to fund inner-city projects and expensive toys like light rail lines and stadiums."

Regarding the flag issue, Reinhardt told WCCO that "the flag shouldn't come down, and if one flag has to come down, hopefully we can come back with hundreds." Indeed, according to Channel 12 News, an "unknown patriot" has already defied MnDOT and erected another American flag above one of the Brooklyn Park overpasses.

Channel 12 reports that veterans are working with state legislators in hopes of getting state statute changed to allow American flags above overpasses before next Memorial Day.

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