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Con: People don't honor flag as reverently as previous generations did

ALLISON MILES

By ALLISON MILES
June 13, 2010 at 1:13 a.m.

Boy Scout leader K.B. Hallmark salutes the flag during a flag retirement ceremony at a Boy Scout camp. Hallmark said that in the retirement ceremony, the scouts burn the field of stars first, followed by the bars.

People still have patriotic ideals, but previous generations were different when it came to honoring the flag, according to some Crossroads residents.

Older veterans still wear their uniforms on holidays and seem to display a deeper patriotism, said Alicia Brewer, a stay-at-home mom in Victoria.

"Our generation doesn't hang onto what the flag stands for like the older generations did," Brewer said.

One look at the tattered flags that hang outside some area businesses shows people don't respect them as they once did, said Rhonda Jentry, a Schroeder resident.

"I see a lot of bad, torn flags hanging up," she said. "But, when it gets in bad shape like that, you should put up a new one."

Jentry flies a flag outside her home and replaces it any time it becomes necessary. After she's accumulated a few old flags, she said she sends them to be retired.

The lessening respect many show likely comes because people are so removed from what previous generations experienced, said Jeff Steele, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6290 in Refugio.

"They don't know firsthand what it feels like to have to sacrifice for their country and to hold up that flag as a beacon of freedom," he said.

Steele served active duty from 1985-2000, taking part in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He went on to join the National Guard.

Another contributing factor is the nation's growing sense of multiculturalism, he said.

"It's kind of getting acceptable to have more flags in our country than the U.S. flag," Steele said.

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