Retired Soldiers Dismayed By Frayed US Flags Flying On Memorial Day
Reports of disgruntled Veterans in Phoenix and Rhode Island surfaced over Memorial weekend due to American flags that were flown in an unacceptable condition. Retired Colonel U.S. Army Veteran, Lonnie Barham, decided to take action when at the Public Park in Providence, RI. He saw an American flag in appalling condition. Barham served in Iraq and his son is currently serving in Afghanistan has a lot of pride in the American flag and seeing it in such poor condition is heart breaking. “It is in absolute tatters,” he told reporters. “I have never seen a flag flown, period, private or public in such deplorable condition. It’s a travesty.”
Barham called the city’s Parks and Recreation Department last week and was told the flag would be fixed. However, on Memorial Day the tattered flag remained on top the flag pole. “Someone in the city is falling down on their responsibility even after being notified they still didn’t take the right course of action, so it’s bothersome,” said Barham. With no luck, Lonnie Barham turned to NBC 10 News. After watching their story Providence’s Mayor, Angel Taveras, responded in a tweet saying, “(The) US flag in India Point Park will be replaced tomorrow and I have ordered all other flags in the city to be inspected. No excuse for this.”
“I don’t know how many kids I’ve seen walk by here this morning on their way to India Point Park, for the next generation to see how we are dishonoring those who died for our freedoms. It’s a travesty.” –Lonnie Barham
A similar story took place in Phoenix, where Veterans across the Valley were outraged with the managers of a Phoenix strip mall who continues to flay a decrepit American flag despite public disapproval. Neighbors of the strip mall near 19th Ave and Dunlap, say that the management company is not responding to their complaints. An owner of a nearby restaurant, Tom Philp, who also severed in the Marines as a military policeman is upset that the tattered American flag continues to fly. “It’s a disgrace to all Veterans,” said Philp. “Especially on a day like today (Memorial Day).” Philp told ABC 15 News that he called the company responsible for the tattered flag numerous times. As the United Stated flag code states when a flag is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner.
Neighbors of the strip mall feel the dilapidated flag should be taken down immediately. One neighbor, Carlelle Ogden, said, “Take it down if you can’t replace it, but don’t let it hang in that condition.” “Even in combat, I haven’t seen one that bad,” said Veteran Jack Kelley. They hope that the management company will finally replace the tattered Old Glory with a new one that is a fitting emblem for display. ABC15 News also contacted the strip mall’s management company, but did not receive a response. “The owners, I don’t know why, seem to have deaf ears,” said Philp. “I hope this brings some attention to it.”
Tim Vetscher | @Tim_Vetscher | ABC 15
Parker Gavigan | @NBC10_Parker | NBC 10