Burn My Flag will you??

Discussion in 'The Den' started by silat1, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. silat1

    silat1 Active Member

    Flag Burner Pilloried by Veterans

    September 28, 2009
    Times Union, Albany, N.Y.

    VALLEY FALLS, N.Y. -- This is a red, white and blue village that is still seeing red after a flag that flew over Iraq was burned by a 21-year-old.
    The payback? He was publicly humiliated last Sunday by being duct-taped to the flagpole of Veterans of Foreign War 1938 say he desecrated Sept. 18.
    Nick Normile, post commander and Vietnam War veteran, said he's been flooded with calls from media outlets since the events of last week received attention from local TV stations and newspapers. He's been asked to go live on a veterans radio show program from Tennessee, another radio show from Chicago and even received a call from NBC studios in New York City.
    But Normile said he's not planning to let the story get any more attention and has declined appearances.
    "I'm not trying to be some martyr or hero," Normile said. "I just did what I thought was right."
    The 21-year-old appeared intoxicated when he entered the VFW post on the day of the alleged act, Normile said. When the man was refused service for not having a proper ID, he ran out in a fit of anger. He cut the rope of the flag, which had once flown over troops in Iraq, and ignited it with a cigarette lighter.
    Two days later, Normile said the man was forced to sit in the sun pilloried for six hours as townspeople gathered across the street for a youth soccer picnic. A sign was hung around his neck detailing what he had done. It recalled the Middle Ages punishment, subjecting him to public humiliation and scorn.
    "He'll never disrespect the flag again, I can tell you that," Normile said on Friday.
    A week later villagers were hush-hush about the event, but patrons of the post bar gave a nod of agreement to the punishment, pointing proudly to a newspaper clipping of the event on a bulletin board.
    Patriotism is on open display in this village of about 500, the walls of a defunct railroad bridge near it's entrance now brightly colored red, white and blue. Most of the historical homes have American flags of their own hanging from porches, some also adorned with the Don't Tread on Me flag, popular with Tea Party activists.
    Normile said once he found out what the man had done, he knew he had to be taught a lesson. Normile said he went out hunting for him, but when he couldn't find him at his apartment, he sought the help of the man's uncle to bring him out.
    "He manned up, he knew he had punishment coming, " said Normile, who described the young man he refused to identify as guilty and ashamed.
    "I told him to think about those kids in the foxhole, and how they had no one to set them free, " Normile said. "It got to him, so I was satisfied. He showed a lot of remorse, no attitude."
    Normile said the flag, whose pieces will be retired in a formal ceremony, had significant meaning. The villages auxiliary had been sending toiletries and other goods to Soldiers in Iraq, who then sent back the flag that had flown over their bunker. It was received with great attention and a ceremony.
    State troopers and Rensselaer County sheriffs deputies said no charges had been filed by either the VFW post or the man.
  2. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Vigilantism like t his can go bad quickly. Call the police and let the pros handle it.
  3. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    I agree to a point. However it is also important to note that according to reports, he was given three choices when they found him. 1) be turned over to the police. 2) agree to throw down with a pissed off war veteran. 3) be duct taped to the flag pole wearing a sign. The man chose number 3.
  4. After living in both the Philippines and the U.S.A I am envious of the respect and reverence which these countries treat their flag.

    I remember the case when I was still in the UK which really made me mad. There was a protest in the center of London and they were burning the UK flag. I couldn't believe they could assemble, burn the flag and nothing be done. They only arrested one of the guys because he was dressed as a suicide bomber...

    What makes the matter worse is that either flag (The Union jack or the Cross of St George) is not allowed to be flown outside the house, put in windows or on cars because of "Nationalist" connotations. When the national soccer team is playing in the world cup and a wave of "Plastic Patriotism" sweeps the nation people are warned from doing so..

    I guess flying the flag is offensive to some people. In England :(

    Just like putting up red decorations at Christmas, Easter Eggs, etc, etc. I could go on but it's better to do something about. So I left.
  5. The Phalanx

    The Phalanx FMA's Frank Lucas

    The 21 yr. old was wrong for doing something stupid... But the Police should have handled it and let the court decide what to do... Not be vigilant cause they are overly patriotic... This could have gone very ugly, very fast...
  6. PG Michael B

    PG Michael B Oso Grande

    I like it...but screw #3...they should have kicked his Nancy ass. Not for burning the flag but for talking **** in the VFW...bad place to screw up in..lol. The Flag burning sucks but it is a free country and like it or not dick heads will burn flags, although I have to say that one should be very careful where one torches old glory...down hear in Tejas they may have buried his ass in that big old desert (hard to find one lil old flag burner out yonder). If the courts handle it ..he would get a slap on the wrist if that....the kid may remember and benefit from the sign wearing embarrassment more so than a reprimand. I still say he needs a sock in the jaw or 6..but that's me Mr.Patriotic..ornery as hell? You betcha!!!
  7. Majd

    Majd New Member

    Burning a flag is a very serious issue and that's many countries threat it very serious. You need to tell the police about this asap else even you can get in trouble. Keep us updated. :)
  8. chubbybutdangerous

    chubbybutdangerous CHUBBY MEMBER

    :laugh:OK, I know some people will disagree. Yes you have a right to burn the flag and a right to free expression. But other people (including myself) have a right to express their disapproval of said flag burning. I would safely say that most vets agree.. I once frequented both VFW and American Legion and many other members would agree in a very vocal manner, especially some of the older guys. But either way I think it was a fitting end to the story. Me? Overly patriotic? Is there such a thing? Just plain old patriotic and proud of it. Alot of good people gave all for what that flag stands for, and to me burning that flag is overly disrespectful to them. 22 MAU and proud of it (Before the age of 21)!:apc:
  9. Carol

    Carol <font color = blue><b>Technical Administrator</b><

    Just recently I was walking down my city's Main street, when I saw a car that had a whole bunch of bumper stickers (respect the environment, etc). I think all of them were a prototypically hippie message...except one:

    "If you're going to burn our flag, wrap yourself in it first." Dayum. My kinda hippie. ;)
  10. silat1

    silat1 Active Member

    Let me put it this way.. I have several family members who are still or have been in the military.. I have a cousin who like my oldest son has been to iraq and now asscrackistan several times. I can tell you that if these guys (myself included) saw anyone burning a flag or talking crap about veterans, there would be a good old boy GI party to be had post haste.. The beatings would continue until the morale improved.. Or to put it this way, the individual would be nothing but a grease spot on the floor or asphalt.. That's not a threat, that's a promise..

    And if you can't deal with it, pack your bags and head toward the nearest airport and go anywhere you think you might find some one who gives a flying frig about you getting your @ss stomped by boots which were worn on the ground in hot spots of the world.. No brag, just fact.
  11. geezer

    geezer Member

    I understand the emotion expressed above. But this sounds like what Arnisador meant when he posted, "Vigilantism like this can go bad quickly..." I personally was impressed that the young man recognized his error and voluntarily chose his punishment. Sounds like he really changed his attitude. Beating somebody into a "grease spot" might make you feel better, but it won't do much to change anybody's mind. So, to my way of thinking, these folks in Valley Falls did alright.

    Another thing. This jerk burned a VFW flag... somebody else's property. And he was trying to provoke people, possibly to violence. That makes this not just disrespectful but a crime as well. On the other hand, if he had quietly burned his own American Flag in protest, on his own property, he would have been within the law, exercising his First Amendment rights to free speech under the US Constitution according to the Supreme Court. Offensive as it may be, our US Constitution gives us the right to make a statement by burning the American Flag, a cross, the Bible, Torah, Koran or any other symbol held sacred by many others. And, to me, defending the principles of the Constitution is even more important than the Flag. Just sayin'.
  12. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Yes--the principles are the thing. If you're not fighting to protect my right to be a jerk, what are you fighting for? My right to behave as the govt. and military would have me behave? What kind of freedom is that?
  13. silat1

    silat1 Active Member

    There is nothing wrong with expressing what you feel, but I draw the line when any flag gets burned.. Be it an organizational flag such as the VFW or the Confederate Flag of stars and bars.. It is your right to do as you see fit and speak as you want.. But when another individual disrespects the Veterans or anything that belongs to them, in my book that is an attack on those of us who have gone and fought for the constitutional right to do as we see fit.. In my case, I see fit to put this sucker @ss up on the flag pole and I would have tied his ankles up to the rope and hauled his @ss up to the top of the mast..
  14. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    The right to express disrespect for your govt. is enshrined in the Constitution. It's why we have first amendment rights, it's why we can petition for a redress of our grievances. Placing a piece of cloth above peoples' rights is the first step in the absolutely wrong direction. A lot of people would feel the same way about disrespect of their religious symbols, of the police, of the judiciary, and so on. To my mind, your position is disrespectful to the Constitution and those who fought to protect our rights and freedoms--I see things completely opposite of the way you do. I am a strong supporter of the military because they protect, not restrict, my rights (regardless of whether I exercise them). When I see a protester do or say something stupid, I am happy because I'm reminded that I live in a free society with lots of personal rights.
  15. Guro Dave Gould


    Hi Guys,

    This is a sticky issue for me as well, although I may not agree with what one may say on any specific topic of conversation I am willing to fight for ones right to say it. But there is a huge distinction in my opinion between free speach as guaranteed by our constitution and an act of disrespecting our nation by burning a symbol that so many have died for over the last 234 years of this nations existance as a nation. The flag is more than a piece of cloth it symbolizes who we are as a people, the numerous struggles which we have endured during our existance as a nation and the values and beliefs which were bestowed upon us by those who drafted and signed into Law the U.S. Constitution whom came before us. I see the act of burning our flag akin to burning your rights of citizenship to be an American. It is easy enough to rescend and revoke ones citizenship in this country by merely speaking the words to do so and in my opinion when you burn the American flag for whatever the reason you renounce your citizenship.

    If you have a problem with the way the government is running its business than speak out and let them know, and if they refuse to listen to you then let your voice be heard at the polling stations during our national and local general elections. If they do not represent us the people then we have the power to put them out on their ass and elect some one who will listen to the very people that have the power to elect them into office to begin with. What gets me is that the majority of people which go out and decide to burn the American flag are the same people which do not vote to change anything, nor have they served this country in uniform but they will complain to high heaven when things do not go their way. In my opinion if you do not vote you should not complain about what the government does or does not do. You will rarely see a veteran of our nations military burn the American flag because we know what that flag represents and all of the blood which has been shed in defense of it for 234 years. In combat we are charged to defend that flag to the last man and never let it touch the ground in defeat, so to burn it is the greatest disrespect which you can show anyone who has served this country.

    My family left Wales in the United Kingdom (England) to come to this country in 1608 when my Great Grandfather James Watkins (14 generations ago) came to Jamestown Colony, Virginia with Captain John Smith on the ship "Phoenix" to supply the colony after it was first founded a few months earlier in 1607. My Great Grandfather Michael Saunders Gould (8 Generations ago) came to Carteret County, North Carolina from Scotland in the 1700`s and members of his family came to Virginia more than a hundred years before him in the early 1600`s. Both sides of my family fought against the Brittish in the Revolutionery War in Virginia and North Carolina as well as the War of 1812, they also fought in the Mexican War, U.S. Civil War, Spanish American War, World War 1, World War 2, Korean War, Viet-Nam and we currently have family fighting in the Iraq and Afghanistani wars, as well I continued the tradition and served my country in the early 1980`s. For over 400 years my family has fought for this land in general and has fought for the American Flag in specific and all it represents for 234 years. So for someone to burn that flag they are not only disrespecting the Government they are insulting those like my family whom have fought and died for the very thing which these people claim to be acting out upon.

    Speak your mind and be heard but leave our flag alone! Just my opinion, go well guys, ciao.

    Guro Dave Gould.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
  16. geezer

    geezer Member

    A few random thoughts:

    First regarding what Guro Dave said in the quote above. Regardless of a person's political sentiments or desire to "make a statement", if he or she has a shred of decency or respect for the feeling of others, they will do just as Guro Dave said. Just because the Constitution and Supreme Court say you have "the right to do something" sure doesn't make it the right thing to do.

    Second. When I was a kid, maybe about four or five years old, I found a beat up old American Flag... you know those cheap ones about the size of a poster, stapled to a stick... anyway, my dad found me playing with it like an old rag, dragging it around on the ground. Right away, I could see by the look on my dad's face that I was doing something really wrong. But he didn't give me a whippin'. He set me down and explained what that flag stood for, and what it meant to all of us, how he, as a vet during WWII and Korea, lost friends fighting for what it symbolized. So, together, we washed the flag, folded it up the military way and then retired it with respect. A lot of times I didn't pay much attention to what my dad told me, but that was a lesson that stuck with me.

    On burning the American Flag. According to a couple of sources we used to have laying around the house when I was a boy, from the Boy Scout Handbook to a pamphlet on proper care and display of the American Flag by the DAR, one of the proper ways to retire an old flag is to respectfully burn it. On the other hand it was considered totally disrespectful to do the stuff that "patriots" commonly do today like sew it onto your clothes, make it into a tattoo, use it in a logo or ad to promote your business, or drive around with it sticking out of the back of your pick-up and getting torn to shreds by the wind. I guess times have changed.

    Lastly, some realtor trying to drum up business put out little plastic American Flags with his business card attached in front of all the all the yards in our neighborhood just before the Fourth of July. In spite of it being a blatant attempt to promote his business (see above), it made the neighborhood look pretty sharp, and pretty much everybody left them up until after the holiday. But, soon they got ratty-looking and started coming off their sticks, so everybody took them down. When I took mine down, I started towards the trash-can, the stopped to think about that "talk" I'd had with my dad when I was a kid... and thought "oh crap, I can't just throw this in the trash, and it's plastic... it'd be a mess to burn... so what the heck am I supposed to do with it now?!?
  17. Fan the Madman

    Fan the Madman Circles with Knives

    Sounds like the kid screwed up. But it wasn't flag burning per say, but the vandalizing someone else's property.

    If he chose to buy his own flag and burn it in a manner that didn't violate anyone else's property rights or safety he would have been perfectly OK by me.

    The fact that it was a VFW as opposed to the Lady's Sewing Circle or the local civilian beer hall doesn't mean much really. Property is property. Vandalism is vandalism. Free speech (provided you don't cross the property/vandalism line) is free speech.

    I have found personally that intolerance of other world views is extremely common among people with military service. It's usually wisest to let them go their own way, believing that their tenure in uniform means what they think it means. Otherwise you wind up having a fight and things can get messy in a hurry. If a bear wants to believe it's a unicorn not a bear.. I won't argue.

    But it's still a bear. :D

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