American flag
The American flag on display at Denali National Park and Preserve. Credit: NPS

Denali National Park Denies Telling Worker To Remove American Flag

A U.S. senator alleged Denali National Park made a worker remove the flag ahead of Memorial Day weekend, but officials say it didn't happen.

A U.S. senator alleged that officials with the National Park Service forced a construction crew to remove an American flag from their vehicle at Denali National Park and Preserve ahead of Memorial Day weekend. But the Park Service says that the incident didn't happen.

The controversy started on May 24 when U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, a Republican from Alaska,  penned a letter to the NPS director, inquiring about a worker "prohibited from flying an American flag."

In the letter, Sullivan explained that the incident happened on the eve of Memorial Day weekend in an area called Pretty Rocks. He said an NPS official "caused" a contractor working on a bridge to remove a 3x5-foot American flag from his vehicle.

"This is an outrage — particularly in the lead-up to our most solemn national holiday," Sullivan wrote. And he added: "The American flag . . . should be celebrated, not censored by federal government employees."

Sullivan added that he did not know of any regulation or law banning the flying of the American flag on federal land. He demanded an immediate investigation into what had happened. And he also requested the Park Service update its policies to avoid future incidents.

Denali National Park's Response

The next day, on May 25, Denali park officials released a statement, saying: "At no time did an NPS official seek to ban the American flag from the project site or associated vehicles." They added the park displays the American flag at various locations throughout the park, including places like facilities and campsites as well as on public and private vehicles. "We welcome its display this Memorial Day weekend and every day," officials said.

Despite the Park Service's denial, damage has already been done. On social media, some have accepted Sullivan's accusation at face value. One person wrote: "Alaska is a wonderful place. When I was there, I enjoyed it very much, but but if this is even true a bit, I surely won't go this park."

However, most people seemed to criticize the senator. In another comment, a person questioned the validity of Sullivan's claim, given the vague details, and questioned the sincerity of his intent. "Memorial Day should be about honoring the fallen and not stirring up anger. I don't know if you've been to the park but there are flags all over including on many of the RVs. I doubt there's any truth to this and I hope you apologize if that turns out to be the case."