TJ Butler was killed in action while serving his country in Afghanistan. (Source: Facebook)
Sgt. TJ Butler, (Source: NC National Guard)
By: Alissa Combs
dies unexpectedly, it's difficult to know what to say to their loved ones or
how to honor their memory.
Last week, a
former classmate of my daughter died in Afghanistan. Sgt. T.J. Butler graduated from Topsail High
and many people in Pender County are mourning.
I wanted to
do something. So I asked some shops in the
Hampstead area to consider honoring Sgt. Butler by changing their marquee.
I also stopped
by the local post office to see if they could fly the flag at half staff. After
all, this is done often as a tribute to those who have died fighting for our freedom.
But I learned
something interesting. The Post Office
can only lower the flag at the direction of the president. Our local post
office does not have the authority to decide how its flag should fly each
protocol. I respect flag etiquette. But it seems to me there should be some sort
of local option for cases like this.
I know T.J.
wasn't the only one to die in Afghanistan that day, this month, this year or
during this long conflict. But his death
resonates more with us, because he grew up in our community. And I think it's only right that someone
here, not Washington, be able to make a decision to honor him.