When Navy veteran John Shields, a former chief petty officer, hopped into his garbage truck last Thursday morning and set out to pick up trash, he never expected to find something so disturbing.
In a Facebook post, he described the horror of finding an American flag in a dumpster at the Army Reserve Center in Billings, Montana.
“I was at my next to the last stop on my route today … I dump the dumpster and looked at my hopper camera and yes in their trash was MY NATIONAL ENSIGN!!!!!” he wrote. “I climbed up on my truck apron and pulled the Flag from my truck. Covered in food and other trash it stunk to high hell.”
What type of disrespectful punk would throw a flag in with food and other garbage?
Rather than leave it there to rot, Shields carefully picked the flag out of the trash, placed it in his truck’s cab and brought it along with him to “dispose of it properly.”
“The week of 911….this not the way to remember,” he added in another post published about 20 minutes later. “It sure as HELL is not what I served 25 years for!!!!!!! So nasty and torn I had to roll it up I couldn’t fold it.”
Another 20 minutes later, he dropped it off inside a Veterans of Foreign Wars’ “Flags Only” box and wrote that although it would “take a week” to air out his truck, it was “worth it for OUR FLAG!”
Good man. Speaking later with local station KULR, Shields described the agony of finding an American flag in the trash.
“It hurts me to see this happen because until you walk up to the house and have to tell a mother that her son is dead, until you’ve stood over a casket and folded that flag, until you’ve been presented which I’ve been presented with one before or you have to present one … it takes a different spin on things,” he said. “You take it to heart.”
KULR also reached out to the U.S. Army Reserve but received only a vague statement in reply claiming the Reserve is aware of the incident and looking into it.
They better look into it, because heads need to roll over this. It’s bad enough for everyday citizens to disrespect the flag. It’s something else altogether — something far worse, I daresay — for military men and women to as well.
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H/T Popular Military