Southeast Texan veterans oppose flag burning

Veterans speak out on whether or not there should be punishment for flag burners after Trump's tweet.

NEDERLAND -  With tears on his face, John Vickery Jr. is remembering the colors he once fought for. "The flag, the stars, and stripes, they call represent what we all fight and fought for. Several have died for that flag." said Vickery.

The Navy veteran is the finance officer for The American Legion in Nederland. That's where hundreds of American flags make their way to once they become unserviceable.

"We have an actual procedure we follow for retiring the colors and ceremony prior to burning the flag." he told 12News.

Vickery explains that every year around Veterans Day, retired flags are handled with care by the organization's commander and sergeants. After a special flag ceremony, the flags are cremated at the Veteran's Memorial in Port Arthur.

The ashes are later spread on holy grounds. "The flag stands for freedom. That's the main thing it stands for. We bled for freedom." said Vickery.

On Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted flag burners should be punished. "Perhaps with loss of citizenship or a year in jail" he wrote.

American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt praises Trump for his support of the American Flag.

For Navy veteran, Andrew Gillard, he too believes the flag should not be disrespected and there should be consequences.

"It means so much to me so much that it  makes me upset when people disrespect it or burn it." Gillard said. 


© 2017 KBMT-TV


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