Law Office of Bruce A. Young

Flag Half Mast

Flag -Half Mast Bruce A Young
My Father taught me respect for the flag. Often busy transplanting trees and
growing vegetables in the backyard when not building his church community and
working in the factory - he took time to implant a tall flagpole in our backyard with
pulleys and ropes so that we could personally raise our own American flag in our
backyard - During this time it changed from 48 to 49 to 50 stars.
I learned that the flag should never touch the ground. I learned the way to fold a
flag in a triangle when taking the flag off the flagpole. I learned to respect the flag.
During inclement weather, we took down the flag to protect it and preserve the
pride and honor and tradition that it symbolizes.
Soon after September 11th in downtown Manhattan where my family and i lived in
Tribeca we had a baran flag pole on the front of our building. I then found an
American flag and hoisted it high, proudly in the dusty wind of smoldering ash -
just a few blocks from where the Towers fell. Neighbors were critical of me for
espousing my patriotism afraid of us becoming a new target, but I kept the flag
raised proudly.
When National Guard troops killed students with guns at Kent State University in
May 1970 as a junior in high school I went to the school flagpole and I personally
lowered the flag to half-mast in deference to the fallen heroes who had fought so
bravely against an unjust War - Black and White fraternity members angered by
my actions and perhaps silently worried about their older brothers fighting in Viet
Nam were pissed that I had taken control of the school flagpole without permission
and they went out to the flagpole and raised the flag back high in honor of their
fighting older brothers in Vietnam.
Undaunted, I returned to the flagpole and insisted that the flag be left at half mast.

About this time I recited my very first theater monologue:
Spoon River Anthology
Edgar Lee Masters 1914
Harry Wilmans
I WAS just turned twenty-one,
And Henry Phipps, the Sunday-school superintendent,
Made a speech in Bindle’s Opera House.
“The honor of the flag must be upheld,” he said,
“Whether it be assailed by a barbarous tribe of Tagalogs
Or the greatest power in Europe.”
And we cheered and cheered the speech and the flag he waved
As he spoke.
And I went to the war in spite of my father,
And followed the flag till I saw it raised
By our camp in a rice field near Manila,
And all of us cheered and cheered it.
But there were flies and poisonous things;
And there was the deadly water,
And the cruel heat,
And the sickening, putrid food;
And the smell of the trench just back of the tents
Where the soldiers went to empty themselves;
And there were the
And beastly acts between ourselves or alone,
With bullying, hatred, degradation among us,
And days of loathing and nights of fear
To the hour of the charge through the steaming
Following the flag,
Till I fell with a scream, shot through the guts.
Now there’s a flag over me in
Spoon River. A flag!
A flag!
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