This "Take pride in your Flag" program was born in February, 2007. It was actually revived from another veterans organization's program that had fallen by the wayside. The Chapter's Adjutant had made note of many tattered/torn flags within Onslow County during December of 2006. With the heavy volume of unserviceable flags there was no way that he could stop at each location to talk with the proprietors about the situation, which was his usual course of action. This is when he decided to use the internet to do the work. This worked out so well that it became a regular notification process, when a veteran would see a tattered flag if they had time to correct the situation, that was done or it was sent via e-mail to the Adjutant and in turn a report to several veterans was sent out.
This worked, due to the fact that many veterans do business with most of these establishments on a daily basis. What better messenger about an unserviceable flag than someone who frequents that establishment. The rapport is there already and the threat of a confrontation is minimized.
The name was given to the program sometime in February, by then we had notified and corrected about 50 flag situations. Up to this point the count sits at approximately 100, and this is the beginning of August 2007.
We notify the establishments or homes personally, by phone or by mail. It usually starts out with a visit or phone call, it normally takes only one or two contacts, sometimes a little bigger push is needed and a form letter is sent out.
Most People either don't notice that their flag is ripped or torn or they are not aware that it is disrespectful to display one in that condition.
The adjutant recruited some other veteran’s organizations to come on board and get involved in the program. While many veterans from all organizations do get involved notifying establishments, four have decided to take an active roll, these are: the DAV, Marine Corps League, the NCOA and The Purple Heart. When we gave the program a name, the veteran’s groups involved started presenting a monthly certificate of appreciation to businesses which consistently fly a respectful flag. They proudly display the certificate in their place of business. This has worked out well, it shows that we appreciate what they are doing and gives them some motivation to keep our colors looking good.
While there is no law prohibiting the display of a tattered/torn flag it is a PATRIOTIC and an AMERICAN issue. We do not want these warriors returning fresh from combat to come into town and see immediate disrespect shown for what they have, daily, put their lives on the line for.
The below is a letter written to the editor of the Jacksonville Daily News, many positive comments were received as a result of this letter.
Take pride in your flag
The “Take Pride in your Flag” program was basically implemented back in December 2006. Since that time it has really taken root within the County and in other areas in the USA.
Since we began notifying residences and businesses about displaying unserviceable flags over seventy have been contacted.
Let me first thank all of those who have responded to the veteran’s notification about their flags, 95% of the time it only takes one visit or phone call to get the situation corrected. My wife and I recently returned from a trip to Indiana and I can tell you that the flags in Onslow County are really looking good in comparison to the rest of the country. Take pride in the fact that we are reflecting patriotism to the max by keeping our flags flying in a respectful manner.
Some of the veterans who do most of the contacting of the businesses about their flags have contacted me expressing their concern. This concerns several of the businesses that were notified, it seems that they have chosen not to resume flying a flag. Some of the veterans feel that we intimidated the businesses and that is why they won’t display another flag.
This program is by no means an intimidation tool, this is a free country and if you choose not to fly a symbol of our freedom then that’s your prerogative. We also, as veterans have a patriotic duty to ask that you show respect for our flag. This is not only the responsibility of veterans but of all Americans. My sister in Indiana regularly stops at homes and businesses and informs them about their tattered flag. The only exposure that she has ever had to the military is me, her brother.
I personally would rather not see a flag flying than to see one flown showing disrespect to our men and women returning from the war on terror. While I know the cost of flying a flag, I have one illuminated which flies 24/7. I do sincerely feel that these businesses should display their loyalty and patriotism by flying a flag again. The cost of a flag is a small price to pay for the freedom of living and conducting business in our great country, especially in a patriotic rich region such as Onslow County.
The average life of a flag is about three months but there are ways to extend that life. When I buy a flag I have five to six rows of stitching sewn in the end of the flag that is subject to fraying. Also, once the flag frays there is nothing against folding the end over and putting a few rows of stitching there. The flag that I presently have flying is six months old and still good for a couple more months.
Folks, take pride in your flag, show our returning heroes that we are behind them and by all means if you walk into a business flying a tattered or torn flag, politely say something to the manager about it. If you return or drive by in a day or two and nothing positive has happened then call one of the veteran’s organizations, the word will get out and the situation will be corrected, or call me 910 455-1353.
Thanks to all of our troops serving in harms way, you are doing an outstanding job.
John Cooney, Adjutant
Beirut Memorial Chapter 642 Military Order of the Purple Heart
1006 Oak Dr, Jacksonville NC 28546
910 455-1353 cell 910 381-1353