The Defense Department “will maintain the existing policy from July 2020 regarding the display or depiction of unofficial flags,” which includes the pride flag.
The Pentagon has announced that pride flags will remain banned from U.S. military installations, even during Pride Month. The decision upholds a policy former Defense Secretary Mark Esper established last July.
The Defense Department “will maintain the existing policy from July 2020 regarding the display or depiction of unofficial flags,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Friday at a news briefing, confirming that “there won’t be an exception this month for the Pride flag.”
However, Kirby noted that the choice “in no way reflects any lack of respect or admiration for people of the LGBTQ+ community, personnel in and out of uniform who serve in this department.”
“We’re proud of them,” he added. Kirby explained that the decision was made to avoid challenges that could arise from making an exception to the policy.
[Kirby] said that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will join in Pride Month festivities at the Pentagon this week.
Austin “encourages all commands to likewise find ways to recognize the service and contributions of the LGBTQ+ community in defense of this nation,” Kirby noted in a statement.
Esper’s policy is strict but fair.
“Flags are powerful symbols, particularly in the military community for whom flags embody common mission, common histories, and the special, timeless bond of warriors,” then-Secretary of Defense Esper wrote in a memo regarding the policy. “The flags we fly must accord with the military imperatives of good order and discipline, treating all our people with dignity and respect, and rejecting divisive symbols.”
In addition to the American flag, service members and DOD employees are currently authorized to display only flags of U.S. states and territories, military service branches, general officer flags, civilian flags appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, the POW/MIA flag, flags for U.S. allied or partner nations, flags of global organizations with U.S. membership such as NATO, Senior Executive Service (SES) and Military Department-specific SES flags, and flags or guidons associated with ceremonies, commands, units, and branches.
All other flags not specified in the memo remain banned from military installations.
It is important to note that last month, Ramstein Air Base removed a photo of uniformed airmen flying a pro-police “thin blue line” flag during a 24-hour ruck march held in honor of National Police Week. The base apologized for the move and said the photo violated the Defense Department policy the flag policy.DONATE
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