After a brief controversy over the hoisting of a rainbow-colored Pride flag in place of one that honors military veterans that went missing in action or were prisoners of war, both flags are flying at the county government center in Rockville.
County officials raised the Pride flag, a symbol that honors the LGBTQ community, during a ceremony Monday in front of the Executive Office Building to mark Pride month, celebrated nationally in June.
Following Monday’s ceremony, an area Vietnam War veteran noted the absence of the MIA/POW flag that normally occupies the middle flagpole between the United States and Maryland flags. The flag was replaced by the Pride flag.
As of Tuesday morning, Council member Evan Glass said another ring had been added to the right flagpole, and the Pride flag was flying below the Maryland flag, with the military flag returned to its original position.
Glass said no one reached out to him about the flag issue, but that he was alerted to it by media reports.
Glass, who is openly gay, said he has great respect for the military, and that his grandfather was a prisoner of war during World War II.
“I appreciate the sacrifices that he and all veterans have made, to ensure that we get to live our lives in an open and free society, and those freedoms have allowed me to be an openly gay man. So I am proud that both flags are flying,” he said.
County Executive Marc Elrich, in a statement issued late Tuesday, wrote that when the Pride flag was raised Monday, there was no way for both flags to be displayed. One flag “did not replace” the other, he said.
“This has been corrected, and both flags are flying now. The Pride flag was raised to honor Pride Month and will be replaced by the County flag at the end of June,” he wrote.
Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.email@example.com