Flags other than U.S. and military still not allowed at Paducah Veterans Day Parade

PADUCAH — Paducah City Commission has banned all flags except for military and American flags from being flown during the Veterans Day Parade.

Veterans from different groups and Paducah Parks and Recreation met Thursday to talk about parade planning.

“I’m sad. 656 Mississippians died in Vietnam. I’m carrying that flag for them, in honor of them.” said Michael Swinford, who attended the meeting.

Swinford is a Vietnam War veteran originally from Mississippi, and he has been fighting to fly the Mississippi state flag in Paducah’s parade for the past year.

“Now I have a city commission in Paducah, Kentucky, that says ‘You can’t carry that flag,'” Swinford said. “And that hurts, to be told you can’t honor them, the people that you admire, and the people that maybe you grew up with.”

Swinford said at the beginning of the meeting, they were only going to discuss certain issues. When they brought up the flags for the parade, that was immediately shut down.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans have also been a part of the ongoing conversation about which flags are allowed in Paducah’s parade. They spoke about the issue during the public comments portion of a city commission meeting last month.

During the meeting Thursday, Vietnam War veteran Ron Waters asked: “Why are we messing with historical things like that?”

“You know, if we remove our history, we’re going to lose our freedoms one by one,” Waters said. 

Paducah City Manager Jim Arndt said there is no plan from the board of commissions to change the resolution.

Local 6 was not allowed in the room during the meeting. As to why, Arndt said: “My understanding is because it wasn’t a public meeting. We have a lot of meetings throughout the days at multiple different facilities that aren’t open to the public.”

The city resolution was passed last year. Swinford pointed out that a resolution is not the same thing as an ordinance or law.

“It makes one skeptical and angry for the government,” Swinford said. “A resolution, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s not steadfast. It’s not a law. It’s not an amendment. It’s simply an opinon.”

Swinford said that if he has to go to court and get a temporary injunction over the issue, he will.

The annual Paducah Veterans Day Parade will begin at 11 a.m. on Nov. 12 at 6th and Washington streets.