I am writing this letter to right a wrong. I have had propaganda sent to me by my father, Ted, and Pastor John on the proper way to display the U.S. flag. I was taught these rules in basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood back in 1982. Periodically our American Legion has a class on flag etiquette. We are refreshed on how to fold the flag, how to display it, how to retire it, etc.
Every state correctional officer in this state has the American flag displayed wrong. While in the Armed Forces, we were responsible for our uniforms. The flag was to be displayed on the sleeve with the union (stars) toward the front — usually on the right sleeve, giving the impression that the flag was flying in the wind and we were charging into battle.
All first-responders, be it state and local police, ambulance personnel, security guards and state, federal and county correctional officers are to display it this way. The Pennsylvania state correctional officers have their flag on the right sleeve with the stars toward the rear. In my opinion, this is the equivalent of kneeling during the National Anthem.
I believe there are federal laws in place requiring the flag to be displayed properly. It is also a matter of respect and honor. Our American Legion has flag retirement ceremonies to which people can bring worn out flags to be retired properly. No flag is to touch the ground. Every veteran and citizen of this great nation should be appalled knowing our state correctional officers are displaying it incorrectly.
I am asking you to contact state Rep. Donna Oberlander or any other elected official to have this corrected. Someone just ordered the wrong flag years ago. It would be a simple fix as they are ironed on I believe.
I have filed a grievance on this subject and it was denied because it doesn’t personally affect me. I couldn’t believe it. I filed an appeal and am waiting for the response. I have talked to many correctional officers and they all agree with me. Many of them are veterans. I will write to Tom Wolf giving him many ways to save money to cover the cost of new flags for uniforms. Even the officers at the Clarion County Jail display their flag properly.
My father, Ted Minick, spends many hours every year making sure every veteran’s tombstone has an American flag on it. The red stripes on our flag represent the blood that was shed for this great country. This does affect me personally. The least I can do is try to right this wrong so the men and women who have shed blood for this country and this flag know that we honor and respect them.
THERON R. WALLS
SCI Forest, Marienville