"Old Glory" Looking Less Glorious in Parts of the Brazos Valley

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

Just a little more than a week after Hurricane Ike blew through the Brazos Valley, many American flags look like they took a direct hit in weathering the storm.

Whether it be forgetfulness in taking the flags down or just normal wear and tear, many flags around town look they've been though a battle.

One local man is reminding others of the importance of not forgetting "Old Glory".

"You raise it up briskly, not too fast--not too slow," John Velasquez said. "Just loosely raise it up."

It's become a beacon of patriotism for Veteran John Velasquez...

"It represents our nation, our freedom; that's democracy and what we're all about," John Velasquez said.

But just down the street, "Old Glory" looks more old than glorious.
Glory's been faded by the sun, tattered and torn by the wind and rain and left to hang as a knotted mess.

"Most people don't realize that there is a law: if you're going to fly a flag, it can't be torn and tattered," Velasquez said.

Velasquez has taken it upon himself to help those who may need a little reminding.

"We'll go as far as leaving a note," Velasquez said.

Notes that thank people for flying "Old Glory" but ask them to retire their frayed and ripped stars and stripes and trade them in for a newer model.

"It makes me feel like I'm looking at a lazy American that doesn't care anymore," Velasquez said. "They've loss their sense of patriotism; it doesn't show any Americanism whatsoever."

Local residents are taking notice...

"People don't display their flags correctly with lights on them at night, or they just leave them out in the wind to get tattered," Nicole Kelly said.

"A lot of people don't realize there is such a thing as flag etiquette, and that the flag is supposed to be treated with respect and consideration, and it's not supposed to be tattered," Phillip Hurley said.

For now, Velasquez leaves behind a card with his name and contact information with an offer that's hard to refuse...

A new replacement, so that symbolism of these stars and stripes can truly live on forever.

"I always keep an extra set of flags for me and if anyone calls me and needs a flag they're going to get a flag from me," Velasquez said.

There are no formal penalties for violating flag code. The code was set up as a guide for people to know how to properly respect the flag.

The Supreme Court has also ruled that even politically motivated violations are protected under the first amendment.

To read the flag code click on the link below:

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