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Vets Group to Fly Flag Upside Down

This is unacceptable


December 18, 2008
Valley Morning Star, Harlingen Texas

HARLINGEN -- An announcement by a local veterans group that it plans to fly the American flag upside down to call attention to the lack of a veterans hospital in the Rio Grande Valley is receiving a chilly response from some fellow veterans.

Commander Josemaria Vasquez of America's Last Patrol Post 3 quotes a federal law about displaying the flag in a news release:

"The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property," Vasquez said.

"America's Last Patrol ... unanimously voted ... to display our American flag upside down as a signal that immediate action must be taken to stop the loss of life of our brothers and sisters in arms.

"America's Last Patrol believe that our comrades are dying because ... health care is being denied by our government."

In the past, America's Last Patrol has organized marches across the Valley and from the Valley to San Antonio to call attention to its plea for a veterans hospital.

Luis Perez, leader of United Veterans Organization of the Rio Grande Valley, said he agrees medical care for veterans is inadequate in the Valley.

"That's a fact," he said. "But (displaying the flag upside down) is not going to get us a hospital built. That's not the way to go about it. They need to act like adults, like veterans," Perez, a Marine Corps Vietnam combat veteran, said.

Retired Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. William Steigerwald said he also was shocked that a group of veterans would fly the flag upside down.

"I think it's wrong," said Steigerwald, a former staff member of Marine Military Academy in Harlingen.

"They could protest at the federal building up there in Austin," he said. "They could get people to write (elected leaders), call or e-mail. But putting the flag upside down ... that's not the way to do it."

Trying to push for a veterans hospital when a new clinic has just been built in Harlingen, with the promise it will be tripled in size, is bad timing, Steigerwald said. The government is now in the midst of a financial crisis, he said.

He agrees with Perez's stance that veterans should just be able to present their Department of Veterans Affairs card at any local hospital for payment.

"We've got (undocumented immigrants) going to the hospitals," he said.

Manuel Rodriguez, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10464, Weslaco, said he is also opposed to America's Last Patrol's decision to fly the flag upside down.

DVA medical care has improved in the Valley, Rodriguez said. The new Harlingen DVA clinic is now providing services that in the past required a trip to San Antonio, he said.

But he applauds America's Last Patrol's efforts to keep the issue of medical care for veterans in the forefront, he said. Also, he commends its practice of erecting flagpoles at the family homes of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen killed in combat, he said.

But he said flying the flag upside down is where he draws the line.

"It's a disgrace to fly the flag upside down," he said. "I first got to know this group about three years ago," he said of America's Last Patrol.

"They invited me to come to their events, but I don't want nothing to do with them ... They're still acting like school kids," he said.

Only Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn have done anything to help Valley veterans, he said.

"They're Republicans," said Rodriguez, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Korea.

"In reference to the Democrats, none of them have done anything," he said. "We don't have no representation in Washington."

Their website

Re: Vets Group to Fly Flag Upside Down

Take note Texas's two republican senators are trying to help the veterans of Texas bit no demonics(as per john harris of Mo.) are.

Re: Vets Group to Fly Flag Upside Down

Duane so your saying that flying the American flag upside down is fine with you ? Interesting.

Re: Vets Group to Fly Flag Upside Down

I think that flying the flag upside down under these circumstances is complelely appropriate.

John R...

Re: Vets Group to Fly Flag Upside Down

At no time this is appropriate.

Re: Vets Group to Fly Flag Upside Down

Try to remember that all these devices are symbols, nothing more and nothing less. When you bite the finger you neglect to see where it's pointing.

John R...

Re: Vets Group to Fly Flag Upside Down

To me it just shows what a sad state of Affairs the VA is in.

They should hang the VA upside down give it a shake and turn the ones that fall out over to the DOJ and start putting ones that are giving the orders to shred Veterans Claim Documents. back date paperwork and defer Veterans Funds to other programs in Jail.

I don't think that Flying the flag upside down will help much, but if it would save one Veterans Life I would do it in a Minute, He-ll,, I'd shake hands with the Devil if I thought it would do any good!

The VA is behind over 800,000 Claims and going up, Suicidal Vets are still being put on a waiting list for treatment, Homeless Veterans are at an all time high, New Veterans are waiting sometimes as long as 6 months to see a Doctor and on and on!

Its a pretty sorry state of Fu*king affairs when a group of veterans have to take up a collection for an injured New Veteran that needs Medical attention to pay for what the VA should be doing.

As Fox News Contributor Ret. Col. Hunt says, "We Suck at taking care of these new Veterans"!

Re: Vets Group to Fly Flag Upside Down

He agrees with Perez's stance that veterans should just be able to present their Department of Veterans Affairs card at any local hospital for payment.

"We've got (undocumented immigrants) going to the hospitals," he said.

well then go fly your on God *amn flag upside down.

Re: Vets Group to Fly Flag Upside Down

I do not think flying the flag upside down is an appropriate course of actionfor a Veterans' group.