MANALAPAN – State, county and municipal officials were on hand at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters Friday, Feb. 9 to officially raise the Killed in Action (K.I.A.) flag on the County library’s outdoor flagpole.
With an honor guard provided by the NJROTC cadets of Colts Neck High School, and scores of library visitors on hand for the event, Freeholder Deputy Director Lillian G. Burry and Library Chair Renee Swartz together with other library commissioners, raised the flag and participated in the indoor and outdoor ceremonies recognizing the historic event.
Manalapan resident Donald Klieger, A Korean War Veteran, led the drive to have New Jersey pass legislation recognizing the red flag as an honor for those Americans who were killed in combat. His ultimate goal has been to have the flag recognized throughout New Jersey and the nation. Mr. Klieger also spearheaded the drive for Friday’s ceremony; however, earlier in the month he was hospitalized and died two days before the ceremony. He was 87 years old.
Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (R), an Army Veteran, and who sponsored A-3225, the bill which designated the K.I.A. flag as an official state flag, and State Senator Samuel Thompson ) were present for the ceremony, along with Freeholders Lillian G. Burry, Patrick Impreveduto, and Gerry P. Scharfenberger, Ph.D. Manalapan Mayor Jack McNaboe and council members were also on hand for the ceremony.
Dancer’s bill had come out of the Assembly’s Military and Veterans Affair Committee in June, and was followed by approval of the Senate’s version, S-1497 last August. It mandates the K.I.A. flag be flown beneath the American and Missing in Action flags and the flag shall be displayed during normal business hours at the State House in Trenton, the principal municipal building in each municipality, and the principal county building in each county seat.