Religious, Political or Offensive messages WILL BE REMOVED
Just wanted let everyone know that I have received (unofficial) but reliable word that the Phillies will hoist the POW0MIA Flag under the American Flag at Citizens Park (Phila.) It will remain flying at all times. It took the time and efforts of so many people to get this mission accomplished and I am very proud to be a part of it. When fans go to the ballpark they will always be reminded of our true heroes who have not yet returned home.
I would ask all of you to carry this message to your Vet group and friends. Please let them know the Phillies are letting the world know they support our POW-MIA Mission. Please ask them to send a message (leter-email) to the Phillies organization and say thank you for what they have done. You can send the letters or emails to either Scott Palmer or Dave Montgomery you should be able to get the contact info on the Phillies Web-page. I must pass special thanks to Scott Palmer he has pursued this from day one and did an outstanding job on this. You all have made me very proud to have been a member of the team and to have worn the "uniform" of our country.
Thanks to all,
Bill Crean, Vice-President,
Phladelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial Society
Veterans Stadium opened in 1971 and was named to honor American veterans of all eras. The UVC and several local VSO's were represented at the dedication of the new multi-purpose stadium in April of that year. The facility was owned by the City of Philadelphia and operated by the Department of Recreation.
I worked at Veterans Stadium for fourteen years (1989 - 2003) in the Stadium Management Office. We also managed the practice facilities and grounds of the sports complex, including JFK Stadium before it was razed to create a site for new "Spectrum ll" arena.
With the cooperation of The Phillies and the Eagles, we always flew the American Flag and the POW-MIA Flag on the stadium rooftop. When The Phillies would play a home game against a Canadian team, we would also fly the Canadian Flag on the rooftop. We also flew the American Flag and the City of Philadelphia flag on the Podium at Gate "A". We observed the flag protocols and flew the American Flag at half-mast on designated holidays and various observances, including the passing of national or local public figures.
We also had six flagpoles on the rooftop patio that was situated over the TV truck Bay. You may remember these flagpoles being above the hedges on Pattison Avenue that were pruned read "The Vet". These flagpoles were used to fly decorative colored flags - pretty much a waste of flagpole space.
Some of the veterans who worked on our crew at The Vet had the idea that these flagpoles should be used instead to fly the five Service Flags (Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard) plus the POW-MIA Flag.
We met with Steve Uchniat, who at the time was the President of VVA 266, and discussed the idea. Steve was very enthusiastic, and took the idea to the UVC. For the first few years, the various local VSO's took turns replacing the six flags at The Vet.
The reaction from veterans and other patriotic fans was great. We were able to get approval to start purchasing the flags from our own budget, relieving the local VSO's of the cost.
By 2003, The Vet's days were numbered. With all the money available from commercial naming rights for sports facilities, we all knew there would never be another stadium named "Veterans Stadium" or "Soldiers Field", etc. But we hoped that veterans would be remembered and honored in some way at the new facilities, which were constructed and are still maintained to a significant degree by with City of Philadelphia tax dollars.
When the Eagles opened their new football stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, one of the earliest events there was the Army-Navy Game. The Eagles had erected new flagpoles on the terraced entrance off Pattison Avenue. We were all pleased to see the five service flags and the POW-MIA Flag flying along with the American Flag. The Eagles have kept up this tradition.
When The Phillies opened their new baseball park, Citizens Bank Park, they had erected flagpoles and a patriotic memorial alongside the parking lot on Pattison Avenue, close to the original location of the flagpoles before The Vet was razed. But for some reason, The Phillies management could not be convinced that they should fly the POW-MIA Flag over the new stadium itself.
Maybe it was the attention that Citizens Bank Park received from the NLCS and the World Series last year, added to the advocacy by sportscaster Scott Palmer and the grassroots work of Bill Crean and many other veterans and veterans organizations that finally convinced The Phillies to step up to the plate and start flying the POW-MIA Flag for the 2009 season.
Many thanks also to Mike DiMuzio, Stadium Operations Manager for The Phillies, and to all the other patriotic Americans who work at the ball park, for their help on this issue.
And again, thanks Tom for the original posting.