A huge outrage on social media was set off by a picture of the American flag being allowed to touch the ground at a local McDonald’s in New Britain, CT.
The image shows two workers of the McDonald’s on West Main Street in New Britain, CT, next to a flag lying on the ground.
Joe Rodriguez, the owner and operator of the McDonald’s franchise, said that a store training manager was in the process of replacing an old flag in front of the store earlier this month.
Rodriguez explained that the manager who tried to change the flag did not have the knowledge of the proper procedure to handle a flag:
He didn’t know the procedures, he dragged it on the ground and someone was here and took a picture and put it on Facebook.
Rodriguez added that his store is receiving constant phone calls from people who’ve seen the photo and were angered. He said that the store managers in the image has even received death threats.
Rodriguez insisted that there was no “ill-intent” and added that it was unintentional mistake. He said:
We apologize, we’re taking every measure, ever precaution it will never happen.
During the days and weeks after the photo was shared on Facebook many military veterans felt that the actions of the employees disrespected the American flag.
Steve Polzun, a veteran of the U.S. Army who served in the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1970, said:
It hurts, it does bother me. You have to realize the age of the person because what knowledge do they really have?
Polzun said that more emphasis on “flag etiquette” should be taught to children in school and added:
I’ll give him a break, a big break. People should not bother him for that, not at all.
Leo Fitzpatrick, chaplin for the Hannon-Hatch VFW Post 9929 in West Hartford said:
I can see where an accident can happen where it could drop on the ground.
Yet many of the Facebook posts called for the responsible employee to be fired. However, Rodriguez has decided not to, instead giving him a second chance. He said:
We rectified the situation we met with him, and we taught him, re-trained everyone how to handle the flag accordingly.
The franchise owner said that the situation has bothered him even more because his father served for the country, as a U.S Marine in Vietnam. He said:
We respect our veterans, we support them, we do a lot of community involvement with them.