Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Father, A Son, And A Tattered Flag

Here's story from AOL about a Vietnam veteran, his son who served in Iraq, and a tattered American flag (another such flag shown above):

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Dad Refuses to Take Down Tattered Flag
By Suleiman Wali, for AOL News

(Aug. 5) - It might be strange to hear that there's an uproar over an American flag that's being displayed by a Vietnam veteran in honor of his son who's serving in Iraq. But it's not who's displaying it that's got many people in a Fresno, Calif., neighborhood upset -- it's what the flag looks like.

Tattered and torn, Louis Haros' flag still flies above the front lawn of his home, despite months of protests from several neighbors. But Haros, 71, has refused to bring it down until his son, Paul, returns from his second tour of duty in Iraq.

"I made a promise to my son and I'm going keep it," Haros told AOL News Wednesday. "He was the one who put it up, and he would be the one to bring it down."

That ceremony will come soon. Paul Haros, 39, has already returned from Iraq. He had been undergoing medical check-ups at a military base in Wisconsin this week and is scheduled to be reunited with his father in Fresno on Thursday.

"When he comes back, we'll replace it with new one that a motorcycle club gave me," Haros, a veteran of the Vietnam war, said.

Haros said the flag his son put up was originally in "good shape," but that the weather took its toll.

"I never dreamed it would get in the condition it had gotten," he said.

Now, faded and with a huge tear across the bottom, the flag has become an eyesore for many people in the military-heavy block.

"One of my neighbors banged on my door late one night and brought me a new flag to put up," Haros said. "They didn't want to listen to me about why I had my flag up. They just said it was a disgrace."

Haros acknowledges that with the recent media attention he's gotten, his detractors have calmed down. But some neighbors are still upset.

"I'd been watching that flag fall apart," Bryan Walters Sr., a Navy veteran, told "It had been getting more and more tattered every day, and it was just breaking my heart."

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A Vietnam veteran made a promise to his Iraq war veteran son, and I support his efforts to keep that promise. When the son takes down the flag, it will be a greater tribute to that flag than simply exchanging it for a new one from K-Mart...

Charles M. Grist


  1. When I first read this story, my first reaction was ...dang just replace the eye sore, think of your neighbors. But as the story developed, I am now ashamed and thankful this story surfaced FOR ME it was a reminder, of how easy we are to judge, before taking the time to review the facts. Thank you for the valuable lesson in patients, reflection and a reminder of our fathers love.


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