One man travels his county collecting worn flags and spreading correct flag etiquette procedures.
Jackie Williams proudly flies two flags from a single pole in his front yard. The stars and stripes wave highest, while exactly 10 inches below flies the POW/MIA flag, honoring any veteran that went missing or was captured during war. Proper flag protocol is an issue this Army vet feels very strongly about and wishes everyone would follow the correct procedures set forth in the U.S. Flag Code.
From Kentucky, Williams travels the county of Henderson serving legal papers. While out, he continually notes the American flag conditions he comes across, too many of which are a sorry sight. “I have found flags hanging from a corner. I have found flags hanging upside down and flags in such disrepair that there was really nothing left,” recalled Williams.
Flags with long rips and missing pieces are beyond repair and require a suitable retirement. Jackie will not hesitate to knock on a door and ask for the owner’s permission to remove the flag when he witnesses such terrible conditions. The majority of the time, home and business owners’ do not have a problem with him doing this. In one instance while trying to remove a large tattered flag from McDonald’s, a big gust of wind nearly blew him down to the ground!
More commonly Williams collects flags from highways and garbage cans. Along with finding such a sacred symbol thrown around, it also annoys the Army veteran when people display their flags inappropriately. When an American flag and others are flown from separate poles, Old Glory must fly the highest and in the center. Another guideline most citizens are unaware of is that the POW/MIA flag flies below the American flag, but above state flags.
When a flag does reach a state of disrepair where it is no longer fit to fly, the correct disposal is via a burning ceremony. After that, the eyelets used to hang the flag should be separately buried in different locations. That is a part of correct flag etiquette many citizens forget.
Throughout his journeys, Williams collected over 150 flags, and counting. He also provided his phone number to the public with the message he is always happy to personally remove a flag and replace it. He said, “This is about our veterans. This is about our country. It’s about our flag.”
Credit: Courier Press