2009.02.18 Troy Shoemaker: Upside down flag

Posted in Letters

I am not only disgruntled but very disturbed to hear that anyone would fly our American flag upside down or that anyone would agree it was the right thing to do. I am and have been receiving emails daily on this topic since it has came up half a world away.

My first question to you is to ask if you have served and or know someone close to you who has? Perhaps you need a history lesson. According to the U.S Code the American Flag is only to be flown upside down only in a time of distress. It has nothing to do with personal distress or opinion. This to me sounds personal or some kind of bitterness.

You do have the right, it is a free country, but there are other options and ways to go about it rather than disgracing something that a lot of people hold close to them. Don’t act shocked or amazed that it would cause such an uproar in a small town like Fayette. Just because your stocks are falling or because you’re stuck in Fayette because you cannot sell your house or because your personal finances are in distress gives you no reason to fly the American flag upside down.

If you feel that you are in fact in distress then I invite you to join me in Afghanistan where I and thousands of other soldiers know the real meaning of distress. And you may ask, “Do we fly our flag upside down?” “Absolutely not” is the answer.

You may ask me if I agree or like the direction our country is heading and the answer is “absolutely not.” But I am not going to act in a biased or disgraceful manner. I am not only ashamed but embarrassed with our mayor. You are supposed to be a role model and a positive figurehead.

I have seen more than my share of American flag draped coffins leave these places of the world. The flag has so much more meaning to it and unless you yourself have served, you may not understand even though a lot who have not served do. I encourage you to ask any vet of any era, or even an average positive patriotic person and I am sure they will give you a quick class on it.

I wish you could personally see the faces and looks I get when I talk about it to other soldiers or personnel over here with me. From officers, to enlisted, and civilians as well.

Thank you to my family and friends as well as the people in the area who support us through thick and thin. It means a lot. We appreciate you for appreciating us and what we do and stand for. My 15-month tour in Afghanistan is coming to an end very soon. I am looking forward to coming home to Fayette for good this spring.

– Troy Shoemaker

U.S Army/Resident of Fayette

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