FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The flags flying over Riverfront Park in Fort Smith will be replaced with banners of the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
The decision to replace the flags over the Fort Smith park comes after a formal request by a local attorney to follow the Arkansas State Capitol and Historical Monument Protection Act.
The former flags represented the nations that controlled the land that is now Arkansas. Those included two French flags, one from Spain, and a Confederate flag.
This was in addition to three different versions of the U.S. flag.
Attorney Joey McCutchen responded to the replacement of the flags by filing a lawsuit in the Sebastian County Circuit Court seeking declaratory judgment that the city of Fort Smith violated the Arkansas State Capitol and Historical Monument Protection Act.
According to a press release from McCutchen, the attorney is asking for an order compelling the city to immediately replace the flags and markers and enjoin future violations of the act.
“The City has made it abundantly clear that they are not going to replace the historic flags and bronze markers and are not going to voluntarily comply with The Arkansas Capitol and Historic Monument Protection Act,” McCutchen said. “While we commend them on their idea to honor our veterans and troops by raising U.S. Military Flags, they cannot do so by unlawfully displacing another historical flag display.”
In response to the lawsuit, city of Fort Smith communications director Shari Cooper released this statement:
Our focus is on the positive energy developing from today’s exciting announcement, which dovetails nicely with the City’s plans to commemorate the U.S. Armed Forces in a flag display along the beautiful Fort Smith Riverfront.Shari Cooper