The University of Iowa is now denying a large American flag was mishandled ahead of an Obama campaign stop on campus, after previously apologizing and removing a photo of the flag laying on the grass.
“There was no violations of flag etiquette,” University of Iowa spokesman Tom Moore told TheBlaze.
The school had earlier apologized for the “show of disrespect” via a posting on their Facebook page.
When asked if placing the flag on the ground was standard procedure, Moore replied, “Yes, there was a protective plastic sheet under the flag and a frame so despite the appearances of the photo, the flag was not touching the ground.”
But that still could be an issue. According to U.S. flag code, the national colors should never touch ”anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.” When asked about this violation, Moore insisted that “this is the protocol this crew follows all the time.”
Moore did note that the crew setting up the flags belonged not to the university but to the Obama campaign. “The campaign handles all the arrangements,” he said.
“Nothing happened,” he insisted. “Nothing occurred that was improper.”
But a flag etiquette expert thinks otherwise.
Al Ulmer is the owner of the National Capitol Flag company near Washington, D.C. His flag warehouse handles and manages thousands of flags, given the heavy military and government protocol of the area. Ulmer told TheBlaze that anyone who is “purposefully putting an American flag on the ground is showing it disrespect.”
“You try to do everything in your power to keep a flag from touching the ground,” Ulmer said. “A tarp does not make any difference.”
Asked about the exact situation of the Iowa flag, he gave his professional advice.
“If I were hanging a flag off a building, and I do that often, you carry the flag to the rooftop and lower it respectfully down the side.”
When asked if he could think of an excuse for this procedure, Ulmer said, “No, it is just disrespectful. They should know better.”
Ulmer says his most common complaints are from veterans, who are often “disgusted” with the mistreatment of the flag in our country.
Here’s where one of the flags at the school ended up when the Obama campaign event took place on Friday: