People are wondering why nobody will answer Donald Klieger’s plea? The 86-year-old noticed the POW/MIA flag in the State House in Trenton, New Jersey last year. While he felt it was fitting, he wondered why the Killed in Action flag for slain military members, a symbol just as meaningful, was nowhere to be seen.
“Immediately I thought, ‘Why doesn’t the state pay honor to the men and women who have made the supreme sacrifice?” Klieger said.
The person giving the tour, Army veteran Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (R-12) who represent parts of Monmout and Ocean counties, was stumped.
“Quite honestly, I was not aware of the Killed in Action flag,” Dancer said.
The flag was designed anonymously back in 1993, and in 2003 the KIA Honor Flag Organization distributed the flag for free to those honoring fallen soldiers. It flies in several places in Klieger’s home in Manalapan, and every time he sees it, he thinks of his cousin – Norman Spechler. Spelcher was only 22 when he was gunned down while exiting a landing craft during D-Day’s storming of Normandy.
“My family sent six first cousins and an uncle to war during World War II and Korea,” said Klieger, who served with the Army in the Korean War. “I’m the last one surviving.”
Klieger wants to do something for all those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice in war. With the help of Dancer, they authored legistlation to designate the KIA flag as an official state flag.
“Here I had a veteran who wanted to memorialize those killed in wars,” Dancer said. “I could not say no. I didn’t have it in me to not take the mission up for him.”
The trouble is, this bill has been sitting in the Assembly’s Military and Veteran’s Affairs committee since this past November.
“It has not yet been posted for a hearing,” Dancer said.
“It’s a shame but nobody gives a damn,” Klieger said. “It’s not a political issue. It’s an honor and respect issue.”
Maybe someone needs to be shown how to treat a veteran on his final mission a little respect.
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