The POW-MIA flag will stay up in front of Idaho Falls City Hall.
The City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to adopt a new policy that leaves the flag up year-round in front of City Hall, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Freeman Park, Idaho Falls Power, the War Veterans Memorial on Memorial Drive and the Idaho Falls Regional Airport.
City Attorney Randy Fife started to work on an official city flag policy this summer. The initial draft of the policy, which was released last month, recommended only flying the POW-MIA flag in front of City Hall on a handful of patriotic or military-related holidays. This led to an outpouring of opposition from veterans and others who believed it should fly in front of City Hall year-round.
“We appreciate the conversation that’s happened and the public input,” said Councilman John Radford. “One of the things that happens in public life is often we rule to empty rooms, and that has not been the case with this issue.”
The Council also voted to declare the flag the city has been using — a blue flag with the city seal on it — the official city flag for now. However, Radford and Mayor Rebecca Casper said the city may adopt another flag down the road.
“There’s been talk that design is less than optimal in the flag design world,” Casper said.
Flag design can be a sensitive topic.
The former Pocatello city flag was the subject of national news articles after Roman Mars, the host and creator of 99% Invisible, a radio show about design and architecture, called it the worst city flag in North America. Mars comments came during his 2015 TED Talk titled “Why city flags may be the worst thing you’ve never noticed.”
The criticism led the Gate City to initiate efforts to design a new flag, which debuted in 2017 after an ad-hoc flag design committee combed through 700 submissions to choose a new flag.
After the new flag was unveiled, Mars called it “beautiful.”