Theodore's World: Veterans Wage Battle Over Flag

« Caption It | Main | Five Suspects So Far and One On The Run For Now »

July 01, 2007

Veterans Wage Battle Over Flag

Vets wage battle over flag By Marcus E. Howard

Marietta Daily Journal Staff Writer

The heart and soul of the Marietta July Fourth Parade each year are the many military veterans who take part, some of them in their old uniforms - not the hordes of politicians who use the event as an excuse to get "face time" in front of potential voters.

The veterans and veterans groups elicit by far the loudest ovations from the crowds that line the parade route, louder than the cheers for any politician or other participant. And that's as it should be.

But to its great discredit, Marietta City Hall this year has decided to give the veterans the back of its hand.

In past years, the start of the parade has been heralded by members of Marietta's Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2681, who walk along the parade route a few minutes ahead of the rest of the marchers while passing out thousands of miniature U.S. flags to children - young and old - along the way.

Other members of the group pass the flags out while walking next to the group's float.

City Hall informed the VFW that it would not be allowed to give out the flags, citing an obscure rule prohibiting parade participants from passing out materials or throwing candy - a rule they've never enforced when it came to the flags.

Officials announced yesterday afternoon that the city will allow veterans and others to pass out 3-by-5 inch U.S. flags, but only before and after the parade, not during the 1.5-mile route as they walk next to their "Let Freedom Ring" float.

"I think it's pretty sad when you can't pass out a miniature flag during a Fourth of July parade," said Spears, a Vietnam and Desert Storm veteran. "I don't think handing out the American flag equates to handing out candy."
It may take more than a dusty old rule to keep Dean and other battle-tested veterans among Marietta's 456-member VFW Post 2681 from distributing Old Glory on Independence Day, Dean said.
"Yes, absolutely we'll be out there passing out flags," Dean said.

Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn said he hopes none of his officers have to arrest anyone next week for passing out U.S. flags. He said he is scheduled to meet with representatives from VFW Post 2681 Thursday morning to discuss the matter.


City, veterans call truce over flags

By Marcus E. Howard
Marietta Daily Journal Staff Writer

Dean and other veterans questioned the policy, arguing that they had distributed the 3-by-5-inch U.S. flags from their float to children and other people on the sidewalks for the past several years, without incident.

After his morning meeting with Flynn and a second meeting in the afternoon regarding the language of the agreement, Dean said he was satisfied with the compromise and said Flynn was "very cordial."

Under the agreement, veterans will be allowed to walk-up to spectators and hand them flags 10 to 15 minutes before the parade begins.

"Some of the members say they're not doing it and are just going to pass out the flags anyway," said Dean, a Korean War Army veteran. "But I have no control over members once they leave the post."

The VFW will still have its own float, positioned No. 28 in the parade lineup - well behind a string of politicians, city councilmen and the mayor. (ed. In other words, safely beyond camera range of the Veterans position in the parade)

Still, some veterans like James Ellis said they plan to defy city rules and distribute flags to spectators as they walk next to their "Let Freedom Ring" float, during the parade.

"It stinks," said Ellis, a World War II and Korean War veteran, of the agreement. "I say we still need to walk along the parade route with our float and hand flags out."
He said regardless of what city officials say, veterans have been distributing flags to parade spectators along the route for decades and he offered photos of them doing so as proof.
A former U.S. Navy sailor who witnessed firsthand the Berlin Wall and Cuban-missile crises, Ellis said the entire flag controversy has "hit a sore spot" for him.
Wilma Clark, president of the VFW post's Ladies Auxiliary, said Thursday evening that she didn't know the details of the agreement yet but she felt the city's ordinance is "wrong" since there has been no previously reported injury as a result of veterans handing flags out.

Other Cobb residents have voiced equal dismay over the city's position.

Mark Johnson, a Marietta attorney who represents Cobb real estate magnate and Post Properties founder John Williams, said he first met his wife at the Fourth of July parade and called it a "highlight" of his year.

Wild Thing's comment...........

If I were one of those Veterans I would ignore this stupid rule too. I would do the Parade just as it has been done in the past. We would have nothing if it weren't for Veterans and our troops today. How people forget this, ON PURPOSE is an insult to every man and woman that has served this country.

Posted by Wild Thing at July 1, 2007 12:55 AM


Marietta ... Georgia? The state of Ted Turner? The state that has changed it's own state flag three times in the last ten years because of southern heritage? The state of racist Cynthia McKinney? Not having OLD GLORY on our nation's 231st Birthday celebration is like not having candles on one's birthday cake! And this happened in red state... Georgia?

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at July 1, 2007 03:21 AM

Who gave anyone the RIGHT to dictate who can fly the flag?
Holy Moly--This people are censuring everything for the sake of being "PC!"
Old Glory is a beautiful thing.
John Wayne said He's never been ashamed of our flag and NEITHER am I!
I can't think of a more beautiful symbol of America than that flag of ours.
We do NOT live is a socialist country, we cannot be told by one person, one group, what to do.
If they don't like it, they can go live elsewhere.

Posted by: Lynn at July 1, 2007 06:46 AM

You expect this crap in San Francisco or Massatwoshits but I didn't think it would come to pass in Georgia. But, as darth points out, Georgia has spawned quite a few Masterpieces of Depravity.

Posted by: BobF at July 1, 2007 09:22 AM

Reminds me of Kiplings. Tommy:

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
But Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!

I wonder if a Terrorist Attack might change their feeble liberal minds at City Hall. Ingrateful SoBs.

Posted by: Mark at July 1, 2007 10:23 AM

When you stop and think what the great state
of Georgia has dumped on this country,Jimmy
Carter,Cynthia McKinney and Ted Turner. I
would say 3 strikes and your out...

Posted by: Tincan Sailor at July 1, 2007 11:31 AM

I spent enough time in Georgia and have known enough natives of Georgia to know that 90%+ don't like this silly flag ordinance. It will be ignored. Now, an ordinance that would be enjoyed and enforced would be one prohibiting politicians in the parade.

Posted by: TomR at July 1, 2007 01:59 PM

Can't hand out flags from a float named "Let Freedom Ring"??

Am I the only one that sees the irony of this?

Posted by: Rick at July 1, 2007 02:34 PM

Darth, wow amazing, yes beautiful George.

It seems all the various States are all having more and more things that are different then it used to be. Sad to see too.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 1, 2007 11:29 PM

Lynn, I agree, I don't care what the reason was, they should be glad to have as many Flags there as possible, as many Flags handed out as possible, the whole day, any time, any place.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 1, 2007 11:32 PM

Bob so true, I was surprised to that it was Georgia but all the States now are donig the pC thing on different things. augh

Some truly wonderful people in George, sad to see this happening.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 1, 2007 11:33 PM

Mark, Kiplings Tommy is perfect for this. Thank you.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 1, 2007 11:34 PM

Tincan Sailor, it would be hard to find one State anymore that hasn't done something that would tick me off as they kiss up to the PC crowd.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 1, 2007 11:36 PM

Tom now that would be great, to have one about the politicians.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 1, 2007 11:37 PM

Rick your right weird isn't it. Very ironic to be sure.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 1, 2007 11:39 PM