Veterans' groups livid over logo

November 20, 1997

Veterans' groups livid over logo


Staff Writer

Some Washington County veterans said Wednesday they disapprove of the county's new tourism logo because they believe it is disrespectful to the U.S. flag.

The logo features an American flag draped over the back of a cannon above the slogan "Making Maryland Memories."

"Of course veterans are upset. The American flag shouldn't be draped over anything," said Jim Sprecher, commander of Washington County AMVETS Post 10.

"If it's supposed to be a tourism logo, it should be the Maryland flag, not an American flag," Sprecher said.

The only thing the American flag should be draped over is the casket of a veteran, said Ray Linebaugh, president of the Joint Veterans Council of Washington County.


"It's just poor etiquette," Linebaugh said.

Linebaugh said the matter will be brought up at the Joint Veterans Council's December meeting. The council represents about 15 veterans posts in the county, he said.

The AMVETS executive board will discuss the logo during its meeting tonight, Sprecher said.

It would be acceptable for the flag to hang on a staff or grace the background of the logo, Linebaugh said.

According to the Code of Flag Display and Use, the flag should never:

- Cover a statue or monument.

- Touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, floor, water or merchandise.

- Be used as drapery.

- Be used for advertising purposes.

Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Ben R. Hart said tourism officials will review the logo.

He said it never occurred to tourism officials that the logo would violate the flag code or offend veterans.

"We will be sensitive to those needs," said Hart.

The logo will be discussed at a board meeting today and could be redesigned, Hart said.

No brochures bearing the new logo have been distributed, officials said.

Tourism officials decided on the flag draped over the cannon to promote the area's ties to the Civil War and other American heritage tourist attractions, Hart had said on Friday.

Washington County Commissioner Ronald L. Bowers said he thinks tourism officials had the right idea, but the wrong result.

"I think it's all improper flag etiquette," Bowers said. He said he had received almost 40 complaints about the logo.

Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said flag etiquette didn't cross his mind when he saw the logo, but that the veterans have a good point.

Perhaps the logo could be redesigned so that the American flag is in the background and the Maryland flag added, he said.

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