National Park Service Maintains It Did Not Order Removal of US Flag Ahead of Memorial Day

Rachel Acenas
By Rachel Acenas
May 27, 2024US News
National Park Service Maintains It Did Not Order Removal of US Flag Ahead of Memorial Day
Clouds partially obscure Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America, as seen from inside Denali National Park, Alaska, on Sept. 22, 2022. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

The National Park Service (NPS) dismissed claims that it ordered the removal of an American flag at a popular park in Alaska ahead of Memorial Day Weekend.

The NPS denied accusations that it instructed a construction crew working on a bridge in Denali National Park to no longer fly the flag from their vehicles or heavy equipment because it distracted from the park experience.

“Reports that a National Park Service (NPS) official ordered the removal of an American flag from a Denali bridge construction worker’s vehicle at Denali National Park are false,” according to a statement on Sunday.

“At no time did an NPS official seek to ban the American flag from the project site or associated vehicles. The NPS neither administers the bridge project contract, nor has the authority to enforce terms or policies related to the contract or contractors performing the work. The American flag can be seen at various locations within Denali National Park – at park facilities and campsites, on public and private vehicles, and at employee residences – and we welcome its display this Memorial Day weekend and every day,” the statement continued.

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) expressed frustration with the alleged incident in a social media post on Saturday.

“It is an outrage that on the lead-up to Memorial Day, a construction worker was prohibited from flying an American flag in a national park in Alaska,” the senator wrote in a post on social media platform X.

“I cannot conceive of a federal law or regulation mandating this,” he said.

The GOP senator also shared a letter on social media that demanded the NPS director launch an investigation into the alleged incident.

Granite Construction, a federal contractor, was assigned to work on the 475-foot bridge that was damaged by a landslide in 2021. A portion of Denali Park Road had been displaced and “cut off vehicular access to popular visitor destinations,” according to an online update. The bridge was part of a $207 million Federal Highway Administration project.

A group of Alaskans planned a patriotic convoy to the park’s main entrance amid the alleged incident. The convoy scheduled a two-hour Memorial Day drive from Fairbanks to the park in an apparent protest to the flag debacle, according to a social media post.

“In light of Denali National Park Superintendent Brooke Merrell demanding contractors working in the park to remove their AMERICAN FLAGS from their vehicles. We will be doing a Patriotic Convoy with Flags from Walmart (Fairbanks) to Denali National Park, 2 hours away,” the host of the envoy posted on Facebook.

“You can join the Convoy or meet us there! Memorial Day weekend is a perfect time to do such a act! Start Meeting at Walmart at Noon and then we will ride to Denali or you can meet up at Denali Come join do a BBQ or just hang out,” the host added.

Meanwhile, the NPS encourages Americans to commemorate the holiday at its national parks, according to its official website.

“Memorial Day (May 27, 2024) is a time of remembrance for those who lost their lives while serving in the US military,” the website says.

“Many memorials and monuments in national parks allow reflection on military service and sacrifice throughout our nation’s history. It is also traditionally a time to reflect on American values by learning about our natural and cultural heritage, visiting historic places, and enjoying the great outdoors,” the statement continued.

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