SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Santa Fe wanted to honor its veterans by hanging banners on light poles, but now they can’t. Wednesday night’s city council meeting in Santa Fe got heated after dozens of veterans and community members lined up to voice their disappointment with the city.

The community is in an uproar after the city took down a slew of banners honoring their ‘hometown heroes’ along Cerrillos Road—citing problems with the light poles.

“I’m a Vietnam Veteran,” says one who voiced their opinion at the meeting.

“I’m here to represent my mother who is a World War II veteran. As was my father,” said another.

Banners honoring veterans have been hanging along Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe since 2019. This year, those banners would have stretched on Cerrillos from I-25 to Saint Michaels Drive. They also were going to try to hang three banners on each light pole.

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“We now stand before you wondering why you voiced your support and we the 2022 banner program paid an excess of $21,000 dollars to raise these banners. Now, you find a technical issue not to raise the veterans banners. The turmoil this has caused the veteran’s families is unfathomable,” said another who voiced their opinion at the meeting.

The city manager, John Blair, says while a PNM employee was hanging the banners honoring the veterans, he questioned whether it was safe to do. The city called the manufacturers to make sure the light poles could hold the banners safely. “It was at that point that we learned that there shouldn’t be any banners on these poles at all,” Blair says.

The banners are more than five feet tall and three feet wide. “With the real unprecedented historic winds we’ve had this year there’s a real concern that the wind and those banners will rip down the light pole onto a business, onto an individual, potentially causing an injury or worse case scenario causing death,” Blair says.

However, locals don’t buy it, and just want them to go back up. “He fought for all you of guys’ freedom, and this is what you’re gonna do, you’re gonna slap him in the face. I think it is wrong. It is really wrong,” one at the meeting says.

“This is our family. We respect ’em and we want you guys to put them back up and respect ’em, just like we respect them,” another at the meeting says.

“I don’t understand why because one little flag isn’t gonna throw the pole. Believe me, the light pole is very strong.”