This fouled-up flag was spotted last Sunday, April 15th, flying in LaFayette Cemetery.

The official military standard for a United States flag is thirteen equal-width stripes alternating between red and white, beginning and ending with red. This rag has only twelve stripes, one is too large, the bottom stripe is too small, and the last stripe is white.

This hardly qualifies as a US flag at all.

Yet it was put on display at LaFayette Cemetery, final resting place of more than a few veterans and a good number of men who gave up their lives fighting for what the flag represents. A misprint flag is unacceptable in any place, but outright disgraceful flying near the graves of dead soldiers.

It’s unclear when the flag was first hung on the cemetery gazebo. It might have been there a day, might have been there six months. We also don’t know who provided it. Being on the gazebo, the flag likely came from the city, but items are often placed in the cemetery by organizations like the Boy Scouts, Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the Confederacy, and others. Items are also sometimes placed by individual family members. (We’d like to think the scouts, DAR, or the Sons would recognize a bad flag and refuse to hang it.)

But regardless of where the flag came from initially, in the cemetery it becomes a responsibility of the city, and should have been replaced immediately. That’s why the Underground e-mailed LaFayette City Manager Frank Etheridge on Monday April 16th to inquire about it and let him know of the problem:

    “Mr. Etheridge-
    “As you may be aware, this flag was spotted on the LaF. cemetery gazebo on Sunday. The stripes are printed incorrectly, and it’s disgraceful for the many buried there who gave their lives for what the flag represents.
    “Was this flag placed by the city, or some other group? Will the city be replacing it?
    “We will be posting an article about this with your response on Thursday. Thanks for your prompt reply and action.”

Etheridge never responded. But by Tuesday night the flag was taken down. It may have been removed by the city; since he didn’t answer our inquiry we don’t know. The flag photo was posted on Facebook late Sunday, and several concerned citizens contacted LU saying they would be removing it if the city didn’t take prompt action, so it might very well have been swiped by an individual.

This article is posted in hopes of avoiding the same embarrassment happening again. Any civic group, individual, or government agency should inspect their flags before putting them out. A majority of US flags are still manufactured in this country, but some are made overseas (namely in China) and some of the foreign manufacturers aren’t concerned about quality or accuracy. If you insist on buying and flying a cheaper foreign-made flag, at least make sure it’s a real flag and not a misprint mess.

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2 comments so far

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  1. We’ve e-mailed City Manager Etheridge twice since he was appointed, and so far have gotten no responses. The same with most others in local government we’ve tried to contact (although a few have started at least acknowledging our messages). We’re making an effort to get both sides of things, and politicians/officials have no right to say we don’t present both sides or use inaccurate information when they can’t be bothered to reply to legitimate questions or provide clarifying details.

    — LU

  2. Thanks for catching this . Our local Police Dept took that flag down on the monday after it was posted .The city did not put this flag out and we do not know who put it up but we are getting a new flag to fly in its place.