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Letter to the Editor – Garry Mokry

By Staff | May 19, 2021

Dear Editor:

With Memorial Day and Flag Day approaching, I would like to contribute the following thoughts and observations.

As a youngster, growing up in Sistersville in the ’50s, we learned to honor and respect our national ensign. We saw our American flag displayed – correctly – everywhere in public places and on private property. We learned the rules of flag etiquette (for proper display and handling of our flag) in school, our scouting organizations, the armed forces, and veterans organizations.

We learned to respect our flag as a symbol of our freedoms and those who went before us and died defending that flag and those freedoms.

It seems (sadly) that public regard for our national ensign has diminished among many the citizens of our country. Recently, while driving through the community where we live, my wife and I noticed the American flag displayed upside down in front of a home. This is normally to be done only as a distress signal (usually on ships at sea) and a call for help. I hoped it was a mistake on the part of the homeowner. However, we have noticed more instances of the same disrespect taking place on vehicles and flagpoles in our area.

Blatant disrespect for our country’s flag seems to be related to a large part with the disgraceful events of January 6, 2021 at our nation’s capitol. We saw our flag being used as an instrument of destruction by a mob. It seems that there is now a tendency to treat our flag as just a “rag” and a symbol of political divisiveness.

For me, as a citizen born in this country and a veteran of our armed forces; I am saddened and disturbed. I do not believe that anyone’s right to free expression should allow them to conduct treasonous acts and disrespect our flag.

For those who may be unhappy with the present elected administration – you have the ballot box to voice your feelings – not by disrespecting our flag. Many have died defending our flag on foreign fields – don’t disrespect them. I recently saw a T-shirt, worn by a disabled veteran. It carried the following message: “If you have not risked coming home under our flag; don’t you dare disrespect it”.

While serving our country aboard a US Navy ship, thousands of miles out at sea; I would be on deck at night and look up to see “old glory” high up on our ship’s mast. I cannot adequately describe the immense pride that welled up in me. In foreign ports, coming back from liberty to my ship; that flag waving from the stern greeted me as if to say “Welcome Home”!

Garry Mokry

Granite Falls, NC