Torn and tattered

By Charles Sercombe
Old Glory is looking ragged on Jos. Campau.
That’s the latest chatter on social media about the condition of American flags flying on the city’s 18 flagpoles on Jos. Campau, from Carpenter to Caniff.
They are not only weathered and torn but, according to resident Mathias Seax, flying flags in that condition violates the U.S. flag code, he said on the Facebook page “I love Hamtramck and actually live here.”
He made it an issue to “point out the hypocrisy” of city officials who in the recent past made a huge fuss over what flags should be allowed to fly on city property.
“They (city officials) should probably observe the law they swore to uphold,” Seax added.
City Manager Max Garbarino had a terse reply when asked about the flags.
“New ones are already ordered,” he told The Review.
While the flag code does not provide penalties, it suggests replacing worn flags and disposing of them “in a dignified” manner – which means, preferably, being burned.
Hamtramck’s mayor and city council have made it the rule that only the American flag, and the flags of the state and city, as well as the POW/MIA flag, can be displayed on public property.
That rule was established as a way to ban the pride flag from being flown on city flagpoles after some members of the community complained about the issue.
The mayor and city council justified their flag policy on the basis of remaining “neutral” when it comes to flags that some consider controversial.
The decision also caused culture clash in the city, with members and supporters of the LGBTQ community protesting that decision.
Even the state’s top law enforcer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, called the ban a “national embarrassment.” Nessel is openly gay.
Up until last year, Russ Gordon, the former chairman of the city’s Human Relations Committee, had been in charge of installing and swapping out flags on Jos. Campau.
Gordon, who was an unpaid appointee, also organized fundraising to purchase flags, which had included the display of flags of other countries that reflected Hamtramck’s diverse cultural makeup.
He would take down the flags before winter to save on the wear and tear.
Gordon and another committee member, Catrina Stackpoole, were fired from the committee after they installed a pride flag in protest of the city’s new flag policy.
Gordon and Stackpoole have since filed a joint lawsuit against the city for being removed from the committee by the mayor and city council.
Posted march 29, 2024

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