Your Turn: Local options for flag etiquette - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Your Turn: Local options for flag etiquette

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TJ Butler was killed in action while serving his country in Afghanistan. (Source: Facebook) TJ Butler was killed in action while serving his country in Afghanistan. (Source: Facebook)
Sgt. TJ Butler, (Source: NC National Guard) Sgt. TJ Butler, (Source: NC National Guard)

By: Alissa Combs

When someone 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 morning. 

I understand 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. 

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