Guest Column: Veterans insulted by removal of flag

Editor’s note: The following was originally submitted as a letter to the editor. The writer also shared with us the letter that was sent to Hamilton Sundstrand. We include both here so our readers will have the full background.

Members of UAW Local 592 and employees of Hamilton Sundstrand, Rockford, received some disturbing news from some of the Hamilton Sundstrand employees in Windsor Locks, Conn. I am enclosing a letter written by the Machinists Union President, Mark Hebert, that tells the story much better than I can.

Briefly, Hamilton Sundstrand managers ordered the removal of the Connecticut state flag and the Veterans POW/MIA flag so they could display the national flag of Communist China while some visiting Chinese toured the plant. There are many of us who see this as a double insult. First, for a U.S. defense contractor to fly the flag of a country who still has nuclear weapons pointed at us is treasonous. Then, to remove the flag of veterans, many of whom were captured or died at the hands of the Chinese during the Korean War, and suffered from the Chinese-supplied weapons and ammunition in the Vietnam War, is doubly insulting.

It was not that long ago, during the Clinton administration, that friction was heating up between our two governments over the sovereignty of the Republic of Taiwan. We could have been at war within the last 10 years.

Many citizens of Rockford read your paper and appreciate the independent voice you bring to our community. I hope you will do what you can to bring this latest travesty to light.

Michael Remhof,

Leaf River, Ill.

Letter to Hamilton Sundstrand

Brothers: This morning the company finally displayed their true colors of patriotism for all to see. Not only their patriotism, but an indication of where their loyalty and priorities lie.

They proudly hiked up the Republic of China flag this morning in place of the Connecticut state flag.

To really insult this country, they went a step further. They took down the American POW flag and replaced it with this Communist flag. What a disgrace and blatant disregard to the soldiers who fought with their lives for the rights of the American people.

I am appalled at the arrogance of Hamilton Sundstrand and United Technologies to kick our sacrificed soldiers to the side when they died for this country (some were just 18-year-old children from Windsor Locks). Our vets of foreign wars gave this corporation the right to even operate a business here, and this is how they pay them back.

They have clearly indicated that their loyalty sides with a Communist country as they continue to send Connecticut work, such as precision machining, out of Windsor Locks to countries such as Xiamen, China. This corporate attitude and greed brings hardship and grief to not only the workers and their families, but to the Windsor Locks community as well. The loss of manufacturing jobs, support jobs, engineering jobs, and IT jobs has had, and will continue to have, severe impact on our community, our families and our children. Yet, they ignore all concerns of their actions in the name of corporate profits that benefit no one but the George Davids of this world. As if $55 million a year is not enough. All the while, they cut the employees’ health care coverage and pass on the increased costs to all workers, both salary and hourly.

Where is their patriotism to the fallen soldiers of the United States? This is an outrage!

Mark Hebert is the president of the Local Lodge 743, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW).

From the Nov. 23-29, 2005, issue

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