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Tourism flag logo is a no go

November 21, 1997

Tourism flag logo is a no go

By LAURA ERNDE

Staff Writer

Washington County tourism officials have chucked a proposed logo that upset area veterans because it featured an American flag draped over a cannon.

"It was an honest mistake on our part. We weren't trying to offend anyone," said Ben R. Hart, executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

One day after county veterans complained that the logo showed disrespect to the flag, tourism board members "pulled the plug" on the logo at their regularly scheduled meeting Thursday morning, Hart said.

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"In reality, they probably saved us a huge headache," Hart said of the veterans.

The logo had not yet been printed on any brochures or other promotional material.

If it had been distributed nationwide, according to the tourism board's plan, veterans all over the country would have been as upset as were local veterans who spoke out against the logo, he said.

Veterans were surprised that no one had noticed the offense before the logo was publicly unveiled this week.

"The only people that's going to see that it's wrong are veterans. You have some people that don't care about the flag," said Jim Sprecher, commander of Washington County AMVETS Post 10.

The flag should not be draped over anything except a veteran's coffin and should never touch the ground, according to the Code of Flag Display and Use.

Those rules used to be taught in school, said Ray S. Linebaugh, a Vietnam veteran and president of the Joint Veterans Council of Washington County.

"We're ecstatic that this thing is going to be changed," Linebaugh said. "We nipped this thing in the bud before it got too out of hand."

Scrapping the logo was an easy decision for the board, Hart said.

Icon Graphics of Hagerstown, the same company that came up with the flag and cannon logo in collaboration with the board, will do the redesign.

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

The redesign is a minor setback in the tourism board's plans to promote the county, Hart said.

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