08 December 2009

Medal of Honor recipient will continue to fly flag despite fracas

"Logic without wisdom can be employed by any sophist." - Unknown

A Marine gunnery sergeant once explained this to me, that, "Rules do not override good judgment and common sense." Not to imply that I seek ways to circumvent good order.

It took public outrage, two U.S. senators from Virginia, and the White House press secretary to bring an end to a stonewalling home-owners' association (HOA) that went to war against a Richmond Medal of Honor veteran of three wars who only wanted to raise a flag from his flagpole.

You can read about this in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
I'll leave you with this comment I found which drives to the heart of the matter.
Posted by kriskraft on December 04, 2009

To all who are proposing to just hang a flag from a holder mounted on the house I appreciate your attempt at a solution but I respectfully submit that it is not the flag or the pole but rather the ritual associated with raising the flag every morning and lowering it every evening.
I am fortunate to have grown up with a WW II veteran father who raised the flag every morning. My brother and I learned from an early age that we were doing more than raising a flag. We understood by the reverence that our parents displayed that this was something special.
When we exercised the proper flag etiquette we were really showing respect for all that the flag represents including all of those who have gone before us to ensure our ability to raise that flag every morning.
I can only imagine that when he raised the flag my dad was thinking of his Army buddies who gave the ultimate sacrifice. My parents never preached any of this. We just “got it” by the seriousness and solemnity that they displayed.
My brother and I actually would try to beat each other to be the one to get to raise the flag but more often than not we ended up putting it up and taking it down together. Never letting it touch the ground and always folding it correctly.
The more I hear from all sides of this argument the more I have come to believe that if you did not have this strong and personal connection with the rituals of the American Flag from an early age or you have not belonged to an organization that teaches and exercises these rituals then you are probably not going to understand the deeply personal emotions that are evoked when someone who has actually put his life on the line fighting for what the flag represents raises the flag.
That doesn’t make you bad, unpatriotic or wrong. It just means you probably don’t understand how it feels, and what it means to this person.
My parents rest now in the veterans section of the cemetery on the hill at the foot of the huge flag pole and my flag is out every day to honor them, the country and my two boys who carry on in Army uniforms, defending everything that the flag represent.
When the West Point Cadets unfurl that huge flag in the Yankee Stadium outfield and the announcer talks about honoring fallen and injured soldiers many of us pause in a moment of reflection, maybe with a lump in our throat, and then it passes and we go about our day.
COL Barfoot honors those who have gone before him EVERY DAY, twice a day.
I hope that the HOA can find it in their rules or in their hearts to allow COL Barfoot to continue his solemn ritual not because he was awarded the Medal of Honor but because he is carrying on a tradition that is not only important to him but should carry more importance for all of us.
Fortunately, the HOA had enough wisdom to lay down their arms.

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