The American Legion Post in Gretna made a decision to create a tribute to honor a decorated veteran who died at home.
However, controversy ensued after city workers removed the patriotic tribute sign from public property.
American Legion Post Commander Loren Foged read the veteran’s obituary: “Afghanistan campaign medal, bronze star medal.”
He promised Nathan Horvatich’s widow that a flag with the name of the 42-year-old former Special Forces soldier would be raised at a city park until the veteran’s burial in Arlington National Cemetery later in the month.
Speaking about the sign’s removal, Foged said, “Without the sign, it’s just a flag in the park.”
However, a city worker stated that the sign was removed and returned to Foged under instruction from the mayor.
Foged said, "Why they didn’t embrace the city acknowledging this man’s service and sacrifice, I don’t understand that at all."
The mayor, Jim Timmerman, who is also a veteran, stated that he issued the removal order because of the placement of the signs.
“The right of way we have regulations that are against posting signs in that no matter what it is," he said.
The flag with Horvatich’s name was flown again on Wednesday, and had patriotic signs placed around it.
According to Foged, a compromise had been reached between the city and the group.
The tribute will remain in the park for only ten more days.
“To be able to fulfill my promise to that veteran’s family," Foged said.
Mayor Timmerman stated that the city had not been informed about the signs beforehand, and that he had received two citizen complaints about it. He therefore had to respect the right of way policy that was in place.
Foged maintained that he hoped there would be better communication with city hall about honoring veterans on public property.