Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Flag Flap Finishes Flawlessly

You're a Grand Old Flag

By George M. Cohan
You're a grand old flag,
You're a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You're the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev'ry heart beats true
'neath the Red, White and Blue,
Where there's never a boast or brag.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

Flag Flap Finishes Flawlessly
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
August 1, 2012

Spoiler alert: this story has a happy ending.

And yet, it needs telling to avoid being repeated through the part where the story had not yet turned happy.

The Clackamas Town Center, a mall in Clackamas, OR earned the kind of attention no business desires – negative attention of the patriotic stripe. During the last week of July, Thomas Phelps, a children’s train ride manager, was threatened with the loss of his job for the parading of what mall management called “an approved visual.”

The dastardly, villainous visual? The American flag. Yes, the American flag garnered negative attention in an American shopping mall – a place where Americans spend their hard earned money.

The flag “is dedicated to veterans and military, police, firefighters, EMTs – all those people that daily put their lives on the line for us,” said Phelps, himself a veteran. “I may be fired, I may be thrown out of the mall, but I am not taking it down,” he continued. (

Upon hearing of the potentiality for Phelps to lose his job over defending the displaying of the American flag, numerous mall patrons came to his defense demanding the flag be allowed to remain in place. Even the mall admitted there had been no complaints from shoppers.

Bottom line: the flag stays and Phelps remains on the job.

The Clackamas Town Center issued the following statement:

"We honor, support and respect what the United States flag represents. The actions and letter that were communicated certainly did not convey that. And for this, we apologize. We can see how many were offended. It was never the intent to offend or show any disrespect. The U.S. flag will remain displayed at the kiddie train and in other locations within the mall. We wholeheartedly support those who fight to allow us and everyone else to display the flag. Clackamas Town Center hosts and sponsors events every year that recognize and honor these and other heroes and will continue to do so." (

While this story has a happy ending, it should never have been a story in the first place. Why are more and more businesses afraid to hang the American flag? Why are more people giving in to the wishes of foreigners who say the American flag offends them while they are on American soil? Why are more and more immigrants to the United States – legal and illegal alike, still clinging to the flag of their country of origin?

If immigrants to the United States are not prepared to drape the American flag around their shoulders, they should not be here. Being an immigrant to the United States is a privilege, which is a major reason so much is made over illegal immigration.

If a business in this country is unwilling to display the American flag or allow its employees to wear a flag pin on their lapel or hang one in their office/cubicle that may be a company with which I do not wish to conduct business.

It IS a grand old flag, and not merely hyperbole. A flag under which hundreds of thousands of Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice. For them it proudly waves.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

No comments:

Post a Comment