Pennsylvania Blocks Flag Company from Selling Flags for Memorial Day


UPDATE, May 19, 2020: On May 18, Berks County announced that Gov. Tom Wolf had granted FlagZone a waiver allowing the company to fill orders for Memorial Day, according to The Reading Eagle. The company will be distributing over 400,000 flags to counties that ordered them.

“Hopefully, when a family goes to the gravesite of a loved one who was a veteran they will now see that they were not forgotten,” FlagZone president Daniel Ziegler said. “It should give them some peace to know that.”

While the production floor must remain closed, Ziegler is thankful to be able to honor fallen veterans with the flags. Though he hopes to begin manufacturing again soon, he believes things are “moving in the right direction.”

This article appears as originally written.

A flag company in Pennsylvania will not be able to sell flags for Memorial Day observances because of the governor’s shutdown of all non-life-sustaining businesses to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

FlagZone LLC near Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania, had asked Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf for special permission to ship American-made flags for veterans’ graves in nearby Berks County and nationwide for Memorial Day.

Flagzone LLC was one of the many non-life-sustaining businesses that Wolf ordered to close on March 19 in response to the coronavirus.

“We want to be able to honor veterans as we do every year and as we’ve done across Pennsylvania and the nation,” company President Daniel Ziegler told the Reading Eagle on May 6.

The state provided its answer in a statement from the communications director at the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development to the MediaNews Group on Tuesday.

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“As the administration’s main priority is protecting the health and well-being of Pennsylvanians, flagmaking operations are thus deemed non-life-sustaining,” communications director Casey Smith said, according to the Eagle.

“While FlagZone will unfortunately need to suspend operations this year, we are hopeful that in the years to come, it will be able to continue to provide Pennsylvanians with a symbol of our patriotism for future Memorial Day celebrations.”

Ziegler said that his flags could be easily shipped on short notice if he could get a few workers back in the factory, but he’s not hopeful about his appeal.

“We’re trying everything we can to honor the veterans,” he said. “Perhaps it will happen in June so we can celebrate them July 4. They (the flags) are in our warehouse and we can’t get them free.”

Do you think this company should be allowed to provide flags for Memorial Day ceremonies?

He added that any flags on the market would most likely be made in China and not in America.

Berks County Veterans Affairs administrator Ken Lebron said that he needs about 55,000 flags for Memorial Day ceremonies in over 200 cemeteries.

“Our purchasing department is also working with our solicitor to identify legal obligations to our signed contract with Flag Zone as it pertains to sourcing from another provider,” Lebron told the Eagle in an email. “We will not be purchasing American flags made in China.”

The state also turned down a request from Colebrooke Enterprises, a sewing company that makes flags for FlagZone, to resume flag making as well as continue to make face masks.

“The people are here saying we’re making face masks, why can’t we make flags since we’re here?” company president Vincent Naso asked.

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Wolf has extended stay-at-home orders for counties, including Berks and Montgomery counties, in the “red” zone through June 4.

Pennsylvanians protested Wolf’s actions at the Capitol on April 20 and again on Friday.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually on the last Monday of May. While many use the day to honor all veterans for their service, Memorial Day actually commemorates those military servicemen and women who died while serving.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith