Preston Memorial Flag Wall removal makes national news; residents take things into own hands

It started on July 25th as a simple Facebook page – a page with one request: Put back up the American flag in Preston.

If you live in the Snoqualmie Valley, you probably know the spot where the Support our Troops/Flag Memorial stands – on a rock retaining wall along Preston-Fall City Road.

That wall became a memorial after 9/11 and has stood since, kind of like a local icon.

Recently, though, King County received a complaint. According to a King County Roads Division work order, a caller asked that the signs be removed as they found the them offensive, noting that the rock wall is on county property and in a right of way.

So the county obliged. The rock wall went bare – and not just the signs the caller complained about. The flag was removed along with the signs.

A few hours later the Facebook page launched, asking for the flag to be returned to the wall. A week later, the page has 1,100 likes and that memorial wall has made the rounds on the local news. And as of last night, it’s gone national, making Fox News and Breitbart.

King County’s position is that signage and displays can create a distraction that could cause drivers to look away from the roadway. They want to find a solution, but have said if they make an exception for this display, it could open a proverbial ‘can of worms’ on other county roads. (i.e. making rules hard to enforce on other roads)

The creator of the Facebook page (who wishes to remain anonymous), is still waiting for a meeting date with the county, including King County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert. They hope to find out early this week when that meeting will happen.

But it may not matter. Late last week some residents took things into their own hands, putting the Memorial Wall back up, filling it with more flags than ever.

As of Monday morning, July 31st, the county had NOT removed any of the flags. We’ll see if it stays that way.

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. It will stay that way.
    If the county insists on pushing this issue and removes the flags, they will simply go back up again. Immediately.

  2. Terry mills says:

    Shame on the lady who made the big fuss. She will remain unnamed, however she knows who she is.
    Amazing how people take freedom for granted. It is astounding that such a mere symbol of gratitude to those who have sacrificed so much for us can be regarded as offensive. Again…shame on you!

    • It seems to me that if you’re going to talk about “freedom”, you have to accept that freedom means defending even things you don’t agree with, which means, if you’re going to advocate that the US Flags stay there, you have to defend anyone putting *any* flag there, right? I think that besides the distracted driving argument of the county, that’s where this runs into a slippery slope problem.

      • Andy, I’m sure you realize that the “but if we do it for one person, we have to do it for all” argument falls flat in this case. That’s what the county will fall back on when they attempt to “fix” this situation that they caused. It won’t work there either.
        We’re not talking about some roadside advertisement or event notice. This is more in line with the roadside shrine memorializing someone who has lost their life in a particular spot.
        No one at the Country Roads Division is talking about removing them, right?
        Moral Relativism is poison.
        So, no, you don’t have to allow anyone to put “any” flag there. It’s different when it’s the US Flag.

        • I appreciate your thoughts Ron, but I don’t find the argument convincing.
          The obvious solution is that flag posters should use private property to post their flags. Like it or not, “public” is “public”, and that means everyone, even those with whom we disagree. On private land, the owner gets to dictate what appears (and what doesn’t).

          • The best part is that I don’t need to convince you, Andy.
            You can’t make the truth go away by saying you don’t believe in it.
            That being said, we are working with the county for a “permanent” solution….on public land.

          • It wasn’t even an argument, it was a naked assertion. He rightly claims that you can’t make truth go away by saying you don’t believe in it, but likewise you can’t make a statement a valid argument by merely asserting that it is. I would respond to Ron directly but apparently this site won’t let me respond to threads of a certain depth.

            • Danna McCall says:

              Hey Mike,

              I changed a website setting so I think it will allow more nested response comments. Sorry about that.

            • Pray tell, what is offensive about the display of your nation’s flag whether that be on public or private property?

              • “Pray tell, what is offensive about the display of your nation’s flag whether that be on public or private property?”
                I don’t think anyone said that. The question is whether we need a process by which we decide who can put stuff up in prominent political places: via the democratic process, or a might-makes-right free for all? I don’t relish watching factions of people going out daily to tear down others flags, posters, flyers, etc., so that they can put their own up.

              • David A Beckenbaugh says:

                The display in question is disrespectful to the country and in violation of Title four, subsections 6 and 8. The flags are displayed touching the ground. The flags are not removed at night or illuminated. The flags are displayed in such a way that they are soon covered in road grime, dirt, mud and oil. And the article says only one person complained. NOT! I COMPLAINED AND HAVE COMPLAINED FOR YEARS. I removed the flags several times when they were ripped and covered wit grime. And i will continue to remove them (too bad, isn’t it? I have respect for our flag and country and 99.9% of the people posting here have absolutely NO respect for our flag, only how they ‘feel; about it’. The sooner this is removed (permanently) and we have a proper display, the better for everyone.

          • Dustin Auckland says:

            Hey Andy, what is public property?? Too many people have this impression that Public means we have no say as citizens and we should bow down to the local authorities!?? Who pays the County Maintenance crews wages?? The American flag should be able to be flown in or on any public piece of land! IT IS THE EXCEPTION! Why is this person remaining anonymous!?? I’m getting really tired of people living in America who Hate America but want it’s Milk and Honey who sneak around and cause trouble and try and further take our rights away to further their Sick Twisted agendas! That are anti American! As a lifelong Snoqualmie resident of will put a flag up in county Right of way all the way from Preston to North Bend if the County makes them take it down!!

            • “The American flag should be able to be flown in or on any public piece of land!” Like, say, the middle of a forest? Across a major highway? Blocking the entrances to schools? Clearly that isn’t workable, which is why we need a sensible process to determine what can go where, which is what this discussion is about.

              • This process hogwash is intransigence masquerading as reasonableness. You don’t want a simple reasonable process that enables anything, you want a highly politicized process so that you can control the outcome. No one is blocking entrances to schools with flags. So what if someone puts a flag up in a forest, if there isn’t a leftist around no one gets offended.

                BTW, WTH is a prominent political place? We’re talking about an ugly gravel basket retaining wall that no one cares about other than to try and censor and control the actions of their fellow citizens.

                • “so that you can control the outcome” Project much? I’ve actually taken no stance on what I would like to see on the wall, if you look carefully.
                  “if there isn’t a leftist around no one gets offended.” And there it is: inevitably, if you leave this as a free for all, it becomes a political battle board. [FWIW, leftists spit in my face; I am hardly one of them.]

              • David A Beckenbaugh says:

                And why we have Title four in the US code.

                • Jim Keeffe says:

                  Title four is US code – NOT US law. A huge difference. There is no disrespect of the flag when a civilian flies it and it happens to touch the ground, gets dirty, stays up at night without a light in inclement weather, whatever. My flag at home is up 24-hours a day and is not always lit and sometimes gets hung up in the roof gutter. Anyone who knows me, know that I have the upmost honor and respect for our nation’s flag. Don’t mistake military code/rules with those for civilians.

                  • David Beckenbaugh says:

                    So, Jim Keefe, you piss on the flag and call it ‘respect’. Good for you.

                    • Jim Keeffe says:

                      My last name is Keeffe. No, David – you piss on the flag and you’d better look over your shoulder. What a dumb ignorant comment you make. To equate people flying flags that happen to touch to ground and get a bit dirty to someone pissing on it is outrageous and contemptible. I have no idea who you are, as you don’t know me, but with that comment you just relegated yourself to the sidelines.

                    • David Beckenbaugh says:

                      As far as pissing on the flag, it is all about disrespect and, therefore, has no difference. “Gee… I am just going to roll the flag in the mud, cover it with oil and grime simply because i can…. and then piss on it….”. What is the difference? People who respect our country and have given so much for our freedom to do stupid things like this are unable to tell disrespect from disrespect when there is no difference to tell. I am sorry that you believe doing stupid, disrespectful things are OK, but that is the liberal mindset of he Seattle area for you.
                      And here is a very old saying for you.
                      If 4 billion people in the world do a stupid thing, do you know what it is? It is still stupid.
                      So if 4,000 people do a disrespectful thing, do you know what it is? It’s still disrespectful.
                      Your argument that ignoring the problem will make it better is … Well, it is just incredible to me. So many people, including the state and county and veteran’s groups, have offered to help make this into a respectful display that actually honors the country and the flag and yet people like you tell them to just go FO. No, you do not use the word, but it is your attitude… Most people in the country find it disgusting.

            • Washington DC insiders know how to leak the names of people they want to embarass. Does anyone in King County govt know how to do that?
              Word of advice to the offended woman and all who think like her – leave. There is an entire world out there to choose from. It is really not that difficult to do and you will be much happier.

        • wayne ashby says:

          Ron, I’m on board with you. Some lines you just don’t cross. people on here that express their liberal freedom to put up any flag then suggestion is not only offensive to me, but I wish they’d just shut up. some things in our world are so sacred, there is no room for opinion. to remove our national symbol because you find the flag offensive, while may be a popular thought to some in the hyperliberal and repugnant socialist world called seattle, I can and will assure you that you are defined by the vast majority of amercans as anti loyal, and anti American. if this country and it’s beautiful symbol, Old Glory, our flag offends you so much that you request its removal, here’s a suggestion: pack your damn bags, and move your ass to some other country that you find more suited to your twisted values. before boarding your one way flight to somewhere else, please shred your passport to never return. don’t like our flag? get the hell out. and those that support people who desecrate our flag or wish to have it removed, you are equally as offensive to me and America…its called being and enabler. I love what the story says, take one flag down, and many go up in it’s place!!!! I’m sure that there will be people on here that want to bitch about my patriotic perspective. and you know what? fine, bitch all you want…I’m proud of my flag.

          W. Ashby
          Sergeant First Class, US Army
          Retired

          and

          Sergeant at Arms
          Veterans Allegiance Veterans Motorcycle Club (VAVMC)

          • “there is no room for opinion” Other than yours, right?

            “desecrate our flag” How is taking the flag, coloring it blue, and drawing extra lines down it not desecrating it? But did you rush out and tear down the thin blue line flags? Did you say that they should get the hell out and tear up their passports? Probably not, right, because… because you happen to *agree* with that particular political stance?
            What it comes down to is that you want a public place to express the things you agree with, and that people you don’t agree with cannot use. How is that American again? Your familiar with the 1st amendment? Presumably you swore to defend it?

          • David A Beckenbaugh says:

            Sergeant Ashby… Does your post mean you agree with the removal of these flags because of their disrespect for both our flag, our country, and our vets? I am right behind you in this. I agree that the flags are disrespectfully displayed in violation of US Title four. The flags are on the ground, they are not illuminated at night, and they are displayed in such a way to be damaged and soiled. (The road grime on the flags gets so thick, it is difficult to tell they are American flags). Thank you for your support in removing this eyesore and finding a proper place and way to honor our flag.

      • Yes, the freedom of having your own opinion is a just one, however, in this case showing your gratitude of those that have lost their lives for our freedom during these times are one of just as well.

      • And as if on cue, today there are several “Blue Lives Matter” flags up, which emphasizes my point that without some sort of rules or governance, the wall is going to become an escalation of various agenda pieces. I’m waiting for all of you who voiced your support for all of the american flags there to go and rip down the Blue Lives Matter ones… or are you only gong to rip down the ones you don’t agree with? Are you going to leave a Black Lives Matter flag up, for instance? It’s just a slippery slope.
        Yes, US flags fly at public institutions like Post Offices etc: they are put there *by the post office*, by government officials, as part of the democratic process. If/when our democratic process decides they want some flags on the Preston wall, great.

        • for the record, I’m the one that put the Thin Blue Line (not blue lives matter, they’re different) flags up, as there was a great n number of police officers who lost their lives on 9/11.
          Sorry to blow your narrative Andy….

      • Jim Keeffe says:

        The lame ‘distracted driving’ excuse the County came up with is just that – lame and patronizing. Those flags have been there for 16 years, on a corner where the speed limit is 25mph! It’s only ‘distracting’ to those few who, when they look at the American flag, burn with some sort of inner turmoil and angst about our wonderful USA. The County officials didn’t have the courage to stand up to ONE complaint in 16 years and so now have created a no-win situation for themselves. Those flags WILL stay there – one way or the other – period!

    • David Beckenbaugh says:

      It was NOT a lady, it was a very large group of people (mostly veterans) that kept writing to the county to have it taken down,,, permanently, and I am one that was (and am0 a leader in the charge. We do not appreciate the disrespectful way the flag or our country is being treated there. And neither should any vet.

      • Jim Keeffe says:

        David – I am a U.S.A.F. veteran from a proud military family. My father was a B-24 bomber pilot during WWII who became a POW after getting shot down. As far as THIS vet is concerned, there was ZERO disrespect of those flags as they hung for 16 years – ZERO!!! Now that the County made a mess of things, I guess at your urging as you admit, and outraged folks have flocked to put more flags up, you deem it necessary to disparage them and call them disrespectful. Most civilians don’t know the nuances of flag etiquette – and it’s outrageous to call them disrespectful when all they are trying to do is give honor to our flag and, by the way, to veterans like you.

        • David Beckenbaugh says:

          Then maybe you should help us educate them on why this is so disrespectful to the flag, the country and our veterans. And MOST people are against this display once the ENTIRE story is brought to light. Maybe you should consider the ENTIRE story instead of just the parts that YOU want to consider.

          • Jim Keeffe says:

            David – (I’m replying to both posts) you speak like someone who sees absolutely nothing beyond the rules. You refuse to distinguish between someone who does something out of respect and love of our country and its veterans – who happens to not do it exactly according to the code, either because they’re ignorant of the code, or the lay of the land doesn’t lend itself to full compliance – and someone who hates our country and purposefully denigrates our flag by “pissing on it”, “rolling it in the mud”, “cover it with oil” or whatever else you throw out. To you, we’re all the same – disgusting, disrespectful and stupid.

            You state, “Your argument that ignoring the problem will make it better is…” now that’s a tough one to follow since I haven’t tried to make that argument – nor would I. You’re mixing up your rants with others. And resorting to inane comments that I’ve told anyone who, “have offered to help make this into a respectful display” to FO is laughable.
            You have offered nothing! All you’ve done in these strings is brag how you got the flags torn down and will continue to do so, throw Title four US code into our faces, call us names, and put us in the same cesspool as flag burners. If that’s your example of trying to help and educate – I want none of it. That’s the kind of ‘educating’ I endured in boot camp with the DIs – everything by the book, and it’s nose-to-nose, spitting and snarling in your face if you deviate one iota from the code. I despised those tactics back then (but understood the context) and still despise them today.
            This will be my last post. I grow weary of your holier-than-thou attitude.

            • David Beckenbaugh says:

              I stopped reading at “You have offered nothing…”. What we have offered is to help fund a proper display on private property including aid in paying for power to run proper lighting, aid in making sure there is a barrier between traffic and the display to prevent damage that is the most disgusting part of this display. we have private citizens that have volunteered their property along the Preston-Fall City road for such a display.
              In other words, we have the complete package in place to do this right, but people like you say it is better to do it wrong. And then you go and accuse me of only looking at the rules. Ya know what/ We would not NEED the rules if it was just done right in the first place. No, I am not hide bound with rules. I am hide bound with offering better alternatives than this disgusting display.
              And you say I do not see any difference in dragging the flag through the mud or pissing on it. You know what? There IS NO DIFFERENCE. It is all disrespectful. It all comes under the same heading. Disrespect. Same heading, so no difference.
              Why not help with this instead of defending stupidity? I know. It is easier to go with what is already there than to do it right. Lazy.

  3. “Freedom of censorship!”

  4. I remember when people in this country weren’t offended by every little thing, seriously things people complain about are getting old. If someone is offended by flags of the country they live in, they probably should leave.

    • wayne ashby says:

      I agree 100%. folks around here are too busy trying to be politically correct and not offend anyone. seems to be a philosophy of a liberal platform. more worried about not offending others than being proud of your values. I, like MANY concur with your thought about they should just leave…may I add, shred their passport at time of departure?

  5. Virginia Brown says:

    My father died in WW II – just before I was born. My brother was mortally wounded while serving in Nam in the Marines. Shame on this city’s elected officials who caved to political correctness. We are Americans. Veterans died for our freedom. I pray that come election time these officials will be voted out of office! God Bless America🇺🇸

    • Thank you Virginia. And thanks to your relatives who served this country. I had relatives who served on ships attacked in Pearl Harbor and who fought on Iwo Jima during WW2. I thank all our veterans for the freedom they fought so hard for, and fly the flag proudly.
      God Bless America!

    • wayne ashby says:

      Virginia, I agree with you so very much. But let me share, while I abhor the seattle city council, this problem is under the king county council, and one member, Kathy Lambert, is equally upset as we are about this travesty. She should be commended for trying to fix this horrible problem.

      V/r,

      Wayne A.
      Sergeant First Class, US Army
      Retired.

  6. I think if they want a memorial to show respect than they need to show it the proper way. This is not the proper way to display flags at all, there are rules. I am not saying to not show gratitude or respect in your own way. But this is an eye sore throwing flags up improperly. I was brought up to respect the flag and therefore respect the rules set forth when you display it.

    • This is also being addressed.
      Kathy Lambert brought in a nationally recognized expert on the care and display of the flag.
      This is, truly, one of the highest priorities while we’re looking for a solution.

  7. The best punishment is to have to live as who you are.

  8. The original flag there always brought a smile to my face as I drove by. I LOVE driving by now with all of those stars and stripes waving in the wind. One thing about the county’s response that really rankled me is the assumption that drivers are unable to glance up at a US flag without becoming “distracted”. Really? The speed limit in the that location is 25 MPH, going up to 45 (or vice verse, depending on direction of travel). I can be trusted to read speed limit signs, construction ahead signs and city distance signs while traveling at 70MPH, but a flag at 25 MPH is “distracting” and creates a danger? That’s ridiculous. If you have a valid reason, state it. Don’t make things up. And, by the way, the US flag flies on “public” land all over the place. Schools, post offices, ranger stations, etc…Seems to me to be an obvious place to display a flag.

    • Well said April!

    • “I can be trusted to read speed limit signs, construction ahead signs and city distance signs while traveling at 70MPH, but a flag at 25 MPH is “distracting” and creates a danger?”
      I do find that argument spurious as well.
      “the US flag flies on “public” land all over the place. Schools, post offices, ranger stations, etc…Seems to me to be an obvious place to display a flag.” How is the side of a road the same as a school, post office, or ranger station? And you’ll note that it is the officials who put those up there, not random people… A person cannot walk up to a post office and put up a Blue Lives Matter flag, right?

    • Well said April, and Andy is just too whiney, probably the guy who drives 30 in the 45 area there, but 45 in the 25..

    • Thank you April! And, how could a flag be distracting on a rock wall but not at a school, post office, city hall, courthouse, police department or park?

  9. wayne ashby says:

    I call MAJOR LEAGUE BULLSHIT from elements of this story comment by King County. First, it was not removed because of it being a distraction. the ORIGINAL COMPLAINT stated IT WAS OFFENSIVE. Second, this has been in place since 9-11 in 2001, 16 years. if King county’s comment was legit, and trustable, it would been compelled to remove this wonderful display of AMERICAN Pride and DIGNIGTY before 16 years. I’m so sick of liberals and socialists. THEY HAVE RUINED SEATTLE. Would you like examples? Traffic, housing, homeless, rampid drug abuse, police reform, corrupt politicans, education, corporate elements leaving seattle, the sonics, kind hearted democrats and socialists during may day…oh scratch that, they vandalized the place….imagine that, socialist and democrat hypocrites and criminals…sort of like a city council woman who is a convicted criminal who has violated her oath of office.

    • Can we get a confirmation/denial of this ? Has it been up for 16 years or 1? I assumed the latter, but you know about assumptions. Someone who lives there please respond. Thanks.

      • yes, it was placed there around 5pm on Sept 11th, 2001, by the (in)famous RiverJim.

        It’s taken many forms since then, but it’s always been a memorial.

Speak Your Mind

*