Many men and women that spend time in the military fighting for the freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

My dad is one of those men.  He enlisted in the US Navy in 1940 and was discharged in 1946.  He spent the majority of World War II in the Pacific theater.  He was at the battles of Saipan, Midway and Bougainville among others. Although he was an enlisted man, he had a good relationship with the captain of his ship.  Dad operated the captain’s skip better than anyone else could do.

After World War II was over, they ended up mothballing his ship.  In the process of dismantling as much of the ship as possible, the captain presented dad with one of the ship’s flags.  This particular flag flew high on the ship’s tower at the battles of Saipan and Bougainville.  That flag meant the world to my dad and he flew it proudly until the flag’s condition prevented it.  He still kept the flag and now I have it.

I recall an incident in the late 1960’s when dad was flying the ship’s flag for the Fourth of July weekend.  The next thing we knew, a county sheriff knocked on the door.  A neighbor had called them to report the flying of an illegal flag because it had only 48 stars.  When dad explained the history of the flag to the deputy, he told Dad to fly his flag proudly for as long as he wanted.  The deputy then told us that he was going to talk to the neighbor and tell him to mind his own d–n business.

Remembering that incident, I understand how Gregory Schaffer of Hypoluxo, Florida, felt. Schaffer had served in Iraq with the US Marine Corps.  After getting out of the Marines, Schaffer erected a flag pole in the front of the house he was renting and proudly flew an American flag.  Evidently Schaffer had a neighbor just like we had who called the city to complain and Schaffer ended up being cited.