Local American Legion post accused of dishonoring American flag

SHREWSBURY, Mo. (KSDK) - The allegations against American Legion Post 111 were made by a NewsChannel 5 viewer who asked 5 on Your Side to get to the bottom of what he called a disgrace.

The flags in question fly proudly on a small strip of St. Louis County land at Interstate 44 and Murdoch. The flag poles and stone marker are maintained by Shrewsbury's Public Works Department and American Legion Post 111. The president of the post and the head of the public works department is the same person, Tony Wagner.

Wagner said he was unaware of recent orders to fly the flags at half staff. But what really angers Shrewsbury resident Caleb Carr is the fact that the American flag is not lit at night as required by flag codes.

"I was raised that you respect the flag. The gentleman I first called with the American Legion Post 111 said I didn't know what I was talking about and hung up on me. The lady I called with the city said just because there is a flag code doesn't mean Shrewsbury had to accept that code," said Carr.

Out of frustration, he called 5 on Your Side. We went to the American Legion Post for answers and found its own flag with tattered edges. People who live and work nearby noticed it too.

"It's surprising. It should be taken down and replaced," said Amber Thorne.

Karen Wolf said she's seen a pattern of dishonor towards the flag at this post.

"The last one they had was even worse! It was an embarrassment if you ask me," said Karen Wolf.

Flag Code Title 4 Chapter 1 ยง174. Time and occasions for display states: "(a) It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness."

Wagner referred 5 on Your Side to another member of the post, who says he was a former American Legion commander of the district and the state. He said he is not making excuses about why the American flag is not lit at night, however, about 10 years ago there was a car accident that took out the electric box to the area, and St. Louis County never replaced it. He said the American flag used to be lit at night and he said it must be again.

He also said back in the day, Post 111 had more than 600 members. Today it has about 250, and barely 30 show up to monthly meetings. He doubts that his membership will be able to purchase the electric needed to light the flag or to provide the manpower needed to take the flag down at sunset. Without a solution he speculated, the American flag may have to come down.

The flags went up after a local Eagle Scout raised money to build a ten foot long wall to honor Shrewsbury's 100th anniversary. Colin Hoock, 14, helped raise $2,000 for the project. The flags were rededicated at the wall's dedication this past September.

To contact American Legion Post 111, call 314-645-9921. To contact the City of Shrewsbury, call 314-647-5795 or email shrewsbury@cityofshrewsbury.com.


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