HOT SPRINGS - The Confederate flags that have been the center of controversy at the Hot Springs VA have been removed, according to a statement from Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 23 director Janet Murphy.
Murphy's office in Minneapolis released the following statement mid-morning on Wednesday:
“To ensure the Hot Springs VA Medical Center is a place of healing for all Veterans, the Confederate flags will be removed from the Freedom Shrine display, located in the rotunda of the main building. This action is consistent with continued accomplishment of the medical center’s core mission, which is to provide quality health care services to Veterans. We thank everyone for their interest and concern for our Veterans and apologize to anyone offended by the display.”
African American veterans who were participating in the Hot Springs VA's PTSD treatment program originally complained about the presence of a pair of Confederate flags in an historic flag display in the VA Domiciliary Rotunda.
The flags were removed at that time, but shortly thereafter, the veterans were released from their PTSD treatment program early, while still receiving full credit, and the flags were then re-installed to the display, according to VA Black Hills Health Care Director Steve DiStasio.