It started out as a protest against a decision to remove flags from local freeways. But dozens of people were on a highway 610 overpass Sunday night waving old glory in celebration of MnDOT's decision to put flags back up.
When I saw that this was happening, I never protested before, I lived through Vietnam, never protested. but today this is a symbol of our country, so here I am," said Adona Rivard of Brooklyn Park.
In honor of local soldiers fighting in Iraq several years ago, the Palmer Lake VFW put up flags on overpasses in Brooklyn Park. MnDOT recently asked them to be taken down citing safety reasons and state law that forbids placing items on state owned structures.
That triggered an outcry. MnDOT says there were numerous complaints from the public, most suggesting the U.S. flag deserves special consideration and should be allowed.
The organizer of Sunday's event, Andrew Reinhardt says, "There was a lot of negative PR that MnDOT was dealing with and it was because a lot of citizens were standing up for what was right and that's important."
On Friday, MnDOT reversed itself and replaced the flags, turning what was organized as a protest into a flag waving celebration.
"It's a victory celebration of sorts because we did have a compromise when the flags went back up and we're happy that MnDOT put the flags back up," says Reinhardt. "It turned into a nice way to bring people together, bring the community together for a real positive message."
Mike Johnson, reporting
July 23, 2012