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Presidential delay was senseless and insulting

July 24, 2015
Shepherdstown Chronicle

The delay by President Obama in calling for the lowering of the American flag in honor of the fallen servicemen who where killed in Chattanooga, Tennessee was senseless at best and hurtful, as well. Not only did it show disrespect to those men who served this country; it also showed their families that somehow these brave men were less important than others who have been killed or injured in a terrorist attack.

In an effort early this week to find out if the president had called for the flags to be lowered or if he was going to, I placed a call to the White House to solicit an official statement.

The very rude switchboard operator transferred me to the Press Corps who did not know the answer. (Although the switchboard operator who was listening in argued that the press staffer never said she didn't know.) He then proceeded to tell me I could send an email to ask the question so it could be forwarded to whomever might know.

The White House's own website clearly states that emails come in by the thousands and most likely will not be answered. I did point this out to the operator who then proceeded to tell me that I had received the only answer I was going to get and that he had my phone number and would tell all the other operators that the Press Team had given me my answer --- I assume an indication that they would not take any future calls from me. He went on to say that he had my conversation recorded (which was clearly stated at the beginning of the call that while calls are monitored, they are not recorded) and the press team member had clearly given me an answer (albeit an 'I don't know' answer). No attempt was made to transfer me to any other source.

Sad, sad treatment by someone who earns their salary through all of our taxes. And all I asked was a simple yes or no question.

The answer became apparent days later when flags were ordered lowered only after leaders at the Capitol ordered that flag lowered and after many state leaders, businesses and others saw fit to fly flags at half-staff. It seems that only our president had to be convinced these men were worthy enough of a sign of mourning and respect.

The pertinent section of the Flag Code says, "by order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law."

The president could and should have ordered those flags lowered immediately. Of course, the president should publicly admit that the killing of these servicemen is an act of terror. But, somehow, it appears as if the incident will likely fall under an incorrect label as did Fort Hood as "workplace violence."

These members of the military serve a necessary role in encouraging and recruiting young men and women to serve and protect this nation. They are as important to our country as those serving on the front lines overseas or those guarding the president and his family. They should receive honor, recognition and respect from their commander-in-chief.

The president could have, with the signing of his pen, had those flags lowered without the need for yet another divisive and controversial action, or lack of such. This lack of action drew ire from both sides of the aisle, as well it should. This president needs to consider that he is not a lone wolf he is protected every day, as are we all, by those who don the military uniform. He needs to show more respect for their service and for their families in this time of their deaths.

Let's pray we don't have any similar situations; however, if we should, let's hope this president has learned a valuable lesson in doing what is right.

 
 
 

 

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