MINERAL WELLS (CBSDFW.COM) – It turns out that a minor change was able to cure a major headache for the city of Mineral Wells.
The city council voted unanimously to rewrite an ordinance that had previously prevented flags from being displayed at grave sites at Woodland Park Cemetery. The only exception to this ordinance included the weeks surrounding Memorial Day and Veterans Day. “Allowing me to fly the flag only two weeks is unacceptable,” argued Jason Thompson. “My grandfather fought in World War II and he didn’t fight two weeks. I didn’t fight two weeks,” added the Army veteran.
Passionate veterans and their family members pleaded with the council Tuesday night to change the ordinance to allow flags to fly year-round. “I simply would like to drive up to the cemetery, get out of my car, walk up and put a flag on daddy’s grave,” explained Army veteran, Robert Veach.
The council agreed and tweaked the ordinance to allow flags to stand 365 days a year, providing the flags are placed in plastic or metal holders or inside vases attached to the headstones. The free holders will be available at the cemetery with the goal of preventing the flags from being knocked over or damaged by groundskeepers.
The original ordinance came at the recommendation of the city’s Cemetery Board. The board argued that something had to be done about torn, tattered and displaced flags. “It was really beginning to look cluttered and unsightly. We felt something had to be done to address this issue and that is the reason for our recommendation,” said Cemetery Board member, Marguriete Crum. “It was never our intention to deny anyone from flying the American Flag on grave sites.”
But many critics didn’t see it that way and the backlash from the public, according to several Cemetery Board members, was cruel and threatening and came in the form of nasty e-mails and letters.
The city council also addressed the problem of cleaning up Woodland Park Cemetery. The new ordinance puts cemetery workers in charge of removing any tattered, torn or broken flags.