Tuesday, January 10, 2006

GA Girl Cries "I'm sorry" for Flag Display

Okay, I know that this is not the proper way to display the flag, and it may not BE the most patriotic way to be, but DANG it! Why make a little girl cry and apologize for her patriotism? And from a vet???
According to the Al-Jazeera Constitution ~ahem~.. I mean Atlanta Journal Constitution today, a girl in Duluth got in trouble for painting the American flag on a rock in the cul-de-sac of her neighborhood. According to the story today,

Flag painters' hopes take a scrubbing

Duluth accepts recommendation to remove 'graffiti'
By STEVE VISSERThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/10/06

Even in Duluth, a city that prides itself in being the flag capital of the U.S.A., the star-spangled banner can a be divisive symbol — especially when everybody wants to wave it and protect it in their own way.

The City Council recommended Monday that a painted image of Old Glory be removed from a street in Mayor Shirley Lasseter's own neighborhood. Children and their parents had painted the banner the last Fourth of July in a display of civics and patriotism. But the city lawyer warned it could set a precedent for some neighborhood Nazi's planting a swastika or some other offensive symbol on a city street if the flag symbol remained.

The flag issue created angst for the council and the mayor, who elected not to order City Administrator Phil McLemore to remove the painting but instead unanimously accepted the "recommendation" of council member Jim Dugan that the painting be removed by April 1. The politicians thus avoided actually ordering a direct attack on the Stars and Stripes.

Three residents were much more straightforward: Linda Hutchinson, whose Vietnam vet husband had helped organize the flag painting, asked the council to spare the image as a patriotic message to children; Don Ogden, an 81-year-old World War II vet who spent time in a POW camp, demanded the painting be removed because it denigrated the flag; and Rachel Renbarger, age 9, who admitted to wielding a paintbrush, just took responsibility.

Her voice was both humble and candid, and she pretty much stole the show in the small, packed City Hall.

"I am so sorry," said Rachel, her voice cracking and her eyes tearing up. "We will do whatever it takes to remove it — me and my sister. I am so sorry."
Rachel Renbarger, 9, spoke during the meeting and was apologetic to Don Ogden (below) for painting the flag on the road in her neighborhood.

The mayor, the City Council, Hutchinson and Ogden all assured her she had done nothing wrong.
Ogden made it clear he never believed the neighborhood residents meant to defile the flag but had only made an error in flag etiquette, one that deeply angered him. He argued the federal rules prohibit a banner or even its image from being on the ground and at risk of being underfoot.

Don Ogden said the flag painting on a Duluth cul-de-sac was disrespectful.
'It is beautiful, but it doesn't belong
on the ground.'


Hutchinson noted that even if it were a cloth banner, they should have the right to display it in the manner they
chose.
"As Americans, we have the right to treat the flag in any manner we see fit," she said "That is what freedom is all about." "The sooner it goes, the better," he said to the council and the public. "It is beautiful, but it doesn't belong on the ground."
The controversy has its roots in a neighborhood spat that quickly spread to the broader Duluth community and beyond. Several people complained to the city administration that it was either inappropriate to paint any graffiti on city property — patriotic or not — or disrespectful to paint the flag on the ground.
The city of 23,000 claims bragging rights as the most patriotic town in America and flies 600 flags on Memorial Day to show its respect, Lasseter said.

Officials at the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars national offices, however, objected to the flag being painted on the ground as degrading the image.
The flag became a controversy when two neighbors complained to the city administrator's office in December that the flag was still there.
Please tell me if I'm in the wrong here, folks.... my heart tells me I'm not, but is there some hard and fast rule about what could and should be the proper treatment of "flags" of this nature? I know I'm not a veteran, but I am a human. Is this an egregious error? What about flag tattoos? Flag bandanas? PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong!
I wonder if the ACLU will be beating down her door to defend HER First Amendment rights? Oh, yeah, that's right... they're too busy with NAMBLA, CAIR and the other folks who are offended by Christian terms and symbols that 90% of Americans want to display.
Please, I'm urging you to email or write the city of Duluth, GA, at least in an effort to try to stop this travesty before it's too late. I am STILL in disbelief that this is happening in the deep south!?!? I know Ogden is a vet, and there are specific ways in which you are supposed to treat the flag, but can't you find some softness in your heart for this patriotic girl who loves her country?
Here is the City's contact information:
For those of you who want to write the Mayor of Duluth, GA, here is the city's webpage: http://www.duluth-ga.com/

Here's the info for email to the Mayor & the City Council:

Mayor & Council
3578 West Lawrenceville Street
Duluth, GA 30096

Email Us <----------- Duluth Mayor & Council

NOW, GO! GET INTO ACTION!

Petition to call for ACTION!

6 Comments:

Blogger Conservative Mom said...

Hi- my first time here- I came through rightontheright. Love this whole concept you've got going here, though.......excellent job!

Anyway~ I know that an actual flag is never to touch the ground, so I can understand (to a certain degree) the arguement about it being disrespectful for it to be on the ground, where it can be walked on and such. However, I really cannot stand those comments where it is referred to as "graffiti." That parts gets to me. Plus, this has been there for how long now? July 4th? I love how things get blown up like this over the course of time, instead of being handled descretely as soon as they are recognized. You know what I'd like to see after all this? This little 9-year old girl with the biggest flagpole, and flag, in town in her front yard!!! THAT would be sweet! Anyone have her address? Let's all send the kid flags and "Americana" items to decorate her room with! If this happened to one of my 3 daughters, I'd paint my freakin' house red, white and blue.....line the whole perimeter of my yard with little flags....string red, white and blue lights up year-round!!! There are no laws against THAT, are there???
Just some food-for-thought!

January 11, 2006 12:20 AM  
Blogger bee said...

Sigh, more proof that some in America have their priorites messed up. To get upset over the way the flag is presented, the little girl did it out of patriotism, not in disgust. She was proud of the flag. I am very happy to see that in any of our young people today...since there is so much anti-Americanism coming out of some of the schools. The Veteran should have sat her down and talked to her about proper flag etiquette, not make her stand in court to defend herself...good grief! Don't traumatize the child!

Some people don't use common sense anymore, they get all emotional over nothing.

January 11, 2006 8:00 AM  
Blogger M. Sheldon said...

Thing is, as I've posted (Thanks for the heads-up, btw) This could've been handled much, much better than dragging it this far. Yes, it is against the "rules" to allow a flag to touch the ground, some of the older vets will go as far as to say that it's worse than burning it.
The Mayor should've reached a consensus with the little girl's parents long ago to prevent her from being paraded in front of the town. The parents should've done everything in their power to keep this from happening.
I feel for that little girl.

January 11, 2006 10:11 AM  
Blogger DLConway said...

For centuries... a symbol of defeat is a flag touching the ground. This may be why the veterans are upset. Until Viet Nam, America knew nothing of defeat. Flag etiquette is important. Unfortunately, protests in the 60's initiated disrespect for our flag, and flag etiquette has not been taught in the schools since then. As a society we seem to embrace ignorance of historical and significant facts/events.

I would reward the girl and her family for their patriotic display and excellent efforts. If I were a veteran in the community, I would enlist the girl and her family to first learn... then teach proper flag etiquette to the community. Let them rise to their gifted position as demonstrated by their love of country!

This issue has so many "win-win" opportunities and there is no need for hurt feelings or people to be shamed as losers. Talented public servants will move towards “win-win” for their community if they are true patriots and if they love their community.

God Bless the girl and her family for being patriots. God grant the community some compassion and realize this girl is a model for appropriate patriotism and citizenship.

January 11, 2006 11:54 AM  
Blogger LiberalismIsAMentalDisorder said...

I am with conservative mom here, lets get a fund together and send it to this sweet patriotic little girl so they can have the largest flag with the largest flag pole in town.

It upsets me that america has its priorities all screwed up such that they make a 9 year old girl cry, yes, she was comforted by the council in ensuring she did nothing wrong, but to me, the patriotic tears of a little girl says take that rock, put it on a pedestal, put a fence around it and make it a symbol of freedom to endure.

January 11, 2006 5:01 PM  
Blogger Ms. Underestimated said...

I'm going to try to find out her address, so that we can send some flags to her.. I'm even going to try to get with a local flag-pole company to see if I can get a flag pole & flag DONATED and INSTALLED for free for her and her patriotic neighbors. I will keep everyone informed.

Ms. U

January 11, 2006 7:20 PM  

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