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Source: My Fox Austin
Date: April 9, 2009
Byline: unsigned

Vet Upset at Anderson Flag Handling

Larry Garrett, of Northwest Austin, says he won't be able to vote next month. His polling place is the high school he recently got banned from.

"That is a piece of cloth that represents our country," Garrett says, as he points to the flag poles on the Anderson High School campus.

Garrett, a veteran, says he's noticed staff members mishandling the school's American Flag for the past several months.

"A pattern developed which they took it down whenever they felt like it, which is frequently after sunset," Garrett says.

He snapped photos of a lone staff member lowering the flag one afternoon. Garrett explains how the individual threw the flag over her shoulder, and did not properly fold the flag. He says it's just one example of how the national elblem was disrespected.

"I addressed the issues," Garrett said, and suggested the principal, a group, a club, some sort, hold a ceremony to build a little pride in our flag."

Last month, Garrett saw the flag flying past sunset. He says he'd had enough, so Garrett properly took down the flag.

The following week, AISD Police served Garrett a criminal trespassing ticket, warning him not to enter Anderson or any other district campus.

AISD wouldn't comment on Garrett's actions, but a spokesperson says he sends out flag etiquette points each year, to every campus.

"Yes, we make mistakes, even in the military, we all make mistakes," Sgt. Maj. Anthony Sandoval, of Camp Mabry, says. He shared some rules of thumb with FOX 7. First, he says two people should always fold the flag. He adds that he understands when schools or businesses have only one person for the job.

"Never let the U.S. Flag touch the ground. You never want it soiled, damaged, torn, anything else. So if it takes draping it over your arm, or should, so that it doesn't touch, yes, that's okay."

Just as the American Flag stands for freedom, Garrett says the criminal trespassing ticket is a reminder of how much he's willing to sacrifice for that.

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