I have read your lead article in The Cheraw Chronicle (Dec. 12, 2013), “Town Council blasted for lack of leadership” several times and with great dismay.
I am somewhat disappointed with staff writer Karen Kissiah for not adding some historical clarity to Mr. David Brooks’ uninformed comments to city council regarding the United States flag protocols. Merely claiming to be a veteran does not validate an individual or his views. I am an veteran (U.S. Air Force) and received training in respect and presentation of the U.S. flag.
The United States Code (USC), Title 4, Chapter 1, Para. 7, item (m), also known as the flag code, reflects when the flag is to be flown at half-staff.
“The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff. By order of the president, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States government and the governor of a state, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to presidential instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law.”
Now let us look at the foreign dignitaries and recognized customs and practices verbiage of the flag code.
Nelson Mandela was chairman of the African National Congress (ANC) a communist sponsored organization and the founder The guerrilla force, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK, or “Spear of the Nation”), the terrorist wing of the ANC and South African Communist Party, was founded in 1961 by him and his advisor, the Lithuanian-born communist Joe Slovo, who was secretary general of the South African Communist Party in 1986. Mandela was on the U.S. State Department’s terrorist list until 2008 and was imprisoned for (and pled guilty to) 156 acts of violence and terrorism against the South African government and innocent civilians.
The ANC and MK were responsible for necklacing, machete, bayonet, shooting and Russian/Cuban land mine deaths of more than 20,000 people (most were black), including Christian missionaries.
Mandela never renounced violence or terrorism and in fact refused to do so as a condition of early release from prison. The ANC and MK leadership were charged with over two hundred acts of sabotage against the South African government. SA exile Henri le Riche writes: “Other than the ANC siding with the communists during the Cold War, why did UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher and U.S. President Ronald Reagan call the ANC a terrorist organization? I will let the current U.S. President, Barrack Obama, answer that question. After the April 16, 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon, he said: “Any time bombs are used to target civilians it is an act of terror.”
So, in light of some historical accuracy (available to anyone willing to look for it) should U.S. citizens tip our flag in respect to radical Marxists/communists, terrorists and/or mass murderers? To do so would not be in accordance with recognized customs or practices. No Mr. Brooks, our flag stands for more than uninformed emotionalism. The flag of the United States and what it stands for would be dishonored if lowered in deference to a terrorist!
Bob Lagoda lives in Wallace, S.C.