A Texas city launched an investigation into the appearance of an American flag that was wadded up and stuffed into a clear, plastic bag in the back of a pickup truck after a picture of the scene was widely circulated across social media platforms Monday.
Citizens from Lubbock, Texas, were outraged when they heard of the flag’s condition, which Mayor Glen Robertson has called “unacceptable.” After launching an investigation into the matter, the city of Lubbock stated Tuesday that a new airport employee was responsible for flag’s inappropriate presentation, and in response to the incident, all airport employees had been called to a meeting to discuss proper flag-handling procedures, according to KCBD-TV.
“Airport staff was notified of a picture on social media that showed an American flag in a plastic bag in the back of an aviation pick up truck,” said City of Lubbock Public Information Manager Jeff McKito, according to KLBK-TV. ”After some investigating, we found out the flags were taken down at the airport on Friday afternoon, due to the lateness of the day, they were not able to take the flags to the American Legion or the VFW Post where they usually would take them to have them disposed of.”
The City of Lubbock also issued a statement affirming the investigation’s findings. “Normal airport procedure is to fold [the flags], put them in bags, and then take the flags to either the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post … or the American Legion Post … for proper disposal,” the statement read, according to KCBD. “If there is a delay … the flags are typically stored indoors until they can be dropped off for proper disposal. That procedure was not followed in this instance. … Aviation staff, as does all of City of Lubbock staff, takes the handling and disposal of American flags seriously. The flags in question have now been taken to the American Legion Post for proper disposal.”
The VFW, which retires hundreds of flags per year, believes that many people have no clue how American flags should be handled or how to properly dispose of them, which involves using white gloves to fold the flags and burn them while folded before burying the ashes, according to KCBD.
Nathan Baie, a leader in a local Boy Scout chapter who also accepts flags for proper disposal, agrees with the VFW.
“When they come to us, typically they’re in a bag or a box or something like that and sometimes they come in folded, sometimes not but I think there’s an education that some people just aren’t aware of,” Baie told KCBD.
Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter