Having passed the discarded flag twice, Dan Turner took the flag the third time he saw it lying on the ground and sent it to his friend Chief Warrant Officer 4 Thomas Golden of the Joint Forces Headquarters Forward, Georgia National Guard.
“This flag was being used as landscape art and a business flagging without the daily outdoor ceremony it deserved. In the end it simply was allowed to lie in the mud of the Irwin Bridge right-of-way for a week while managers, landscape personnel and employees, residents and neighbors simply ignored it lying on the ground,” wrote Turner in a letter to the apartment complex, sheriff’s department, judges and the editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
After taking the flag, Turner e-mailed Golden and asked if he would fly the flag at Forward Operating Base Delta, Iraq. Turner cleaned the flag and shipped it to Golden who was more than happy to restore the flag’s honor before returning it to Turner.
“The U.S. flag for me is more than just a piece of cloth to be flown or displayed as a matter of convenient patriotism or decoration. It is the one true symbolic representation of what our nation and her principles stand for,” Golden said. “Also, many great men and women have served in uniform, and in many cases, died for advancing freedom and democracy as well as the preservation and perpetuation of our freedom, liberty and way of life we enjoy every day which our flag symbolizes.
“It’s our flag, and people don’t always pay it the respect it’s due,” he said.