Airman upset over empty flagpoles at Marietta High
by Lindsay Field
August 18, 2012 02:18 AM | 4688 views | 14 14 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Flag poles at Marietta High School stand without flags on Friday. Senior Master Sgt. John Murray, who works at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, said he was shocked to hear that the flag at Marietta High is not flown until after ROTC cadets pass their flag inspection. <br> Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
Flag poles at Marietta High School stand without flags on Friday. Senior Master Sgt. John Murray, who works at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, said he was shocked to hear that the flag at Marietta High is not flown until after ROTC cadets pass their flag inspection.
Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
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MARIETTA — A Dobbins airman was shocked to hear that Marietta High School officials said the American flag outside their building is not flown until after ROTC cadets pass their flag inspection.

Senior Master Sgt. John Murray, who works at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, said he drives by Marietta High every day to and from his Paulding County home. Last school year, he noticed the flag was not raised every school day.

“I’ve been in the military since 1980, and it’s a sore point with me,” he said Friday. “We defend the country and defend the flag.”

Marietta Principal Leigh Colburn said, “At MHS, we only allow our military personnel or cadets to raise, lower, fold and store our flags to make sure that all appropriate protocol is followed. Our exterior flags will be raised Monday morning, the second week of the school year, as our cadets have now completed the required training and have signed their (Flag Detail) contract.”

The contract she referred to also states that that any time there is “inclement weather such as rain, the flags will not be put up or they must be retrieved immediately.”

Murray said that while he appreciated that the school waited for the ROTC to pass their inspection, he still believed that when school was open, the flag should be up.

“Any veteran would be more than happy to put it up,” he said. “I would gladly come by and put it up myself if they needed me to.”

Colburn said Marietta High is a “proud and patriotic school.”

“We display American flags in every classroom and all public areas of the building including gymnasium, all meeting areas, the main office and there is an American flag at each end of the central grand staircase,” she said.

They also fly every state flag and the flags for each military branch.

“Our ROTC program is 300 cadets strong, and they raise and lower the flag each day of the school year beginning the second full week of school,” she said. “During the first week of school, a select group of ROTC cadets is trained regarding all appropriate and required military protocol for the unfolding, raising, lowering, and folding of the flag.”

MHS students also participate in the Kiwanis Field of Flags celebration, and cadets lay wreaths at the national cemetery on Roswell Road for Memorial Day.

“As the daughter of an Army colonel and the mother of a cadet, it is important to me that we model patriotism,” she said, reminding the public that they are welcome to attend the school’s Veterans Day assembly on Nov. 12 at 9 a.m.

According to the U.S. Flag Code, the flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.

Cobb Schools spokesman Doug Goodwin said flags are on display outside each of the district’s elementary, middle and high school buildings.
Comments
(14)
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Just Wait
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August 20, 2012
I believe this "Airman" should spend more time concerning himself about working for our country and less time trying to make a name for himself. Now he just looks foolish.
Say say
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August 20, 2012
What an embarrassment for Mr. Murray. Call the school not the MDJ!! Maybe it's time to retire from Dobbins.
Watcher...
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August 19, 2012
This is so easy. If the ROTC I cannot raise the Flag, let a MHS Staffer raise it EVERY that the school is open!
kimster
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August 19, 2012
I am an Army brat and a disabled veteran (Viet Nam). I can't see anything unpatriotic about MHS's decision. I think the Senior Master Sergeant is cavilling.
Joe Alfaro
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August 19, 2012
I want to thank the MJD for giving Marietta High School (MHS) the opportunity to provide a reply for a perceived impropriety. I hope future concerns are addressed to the school directly.
anonymous
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August 18, 2012
OMG. Stay in Paulding
I Say
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August 18, 2012
This is a poor excuse for not flying the flag the first week of school. Are all 300 of the cadets freshmen or seniors who have never been in ROTC before? If a student starts ROTC as a freshman and gets the flag training he/she should remember the protocol in consecutive years so there is no gap in raising the flag. If they don't have any cadets who remember from year to year I'm sure the school has some Boy Scouts who know how to do it.
Marine64
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August 20, 2012
I agree... There are cadets at MHS that are already qualified in flag duty. Its a pretty lame excuse Principal Colburn...If the band and football teams can start early then there is no reason not to have the American Flag flying on the first day of school.
westsider2
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August 18, 2012
Why not train students at the end of the school year to be ready from day one for the next semester?
anonymous
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August 18, 2012
At least they have a flag pole. Maybe I am blind but I have not seen a flag or flagpole in front of Pine Mountain Middle School. Maybe we should look around and see how many other schools are missing the banner of our great nation.
AFMHS
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August 18, 2012
Wow what a breach of command protocol by the SMSgt from Dobbins. Calling the newspaper, really? Terrible community relations move on his part. Why didnt he just call the school and ask about their protocols or email the principal and express his concern. He is obviously ignorant of the very active partnership between MHS and Dobbins, but I imagine somewhere at Dobbins will be giving him a lesson on community relationships. I am sure he is welcome to come to the school and educate himself - there is lots of good stuff going on there and some of it because of the strength of the tie to Dobbins. Mistakes are opportunities to learn - I hope this guy has enough conviction to educate himself rather than just seek his 3 minutes of fame calling the paper and trying to embrarrass the city's one high school.
Flag Solution
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August 18, 2012
Hold "Flag Camp" like band camp for a few hours before school opens for the first time. Then our colors will be flying on day 1.

My respect to you both, Sgt. Murray for raising this point, and to Principal Colburn, for informing us of the reasons why the flags were not there during the first 2 weeks.
Darned If You Do
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August 18, 2012
Interestingly enough, people would call to complain that the flag at the baseball field behind the school building would be left up all the time and people would complain about that as well. As you are supposed to raise the flag and take it down every day, many schools in Cobb leave their flag flying all day and all night. So darned if you do and darned if you don't. Marietta takes pride in being a patriotic school with its much diversity as well. The ROTC program is one of the best in the state. The protocol they adhere to raises and educates some of the best trained cadets. They have it covered. Isn't there something more pressing in the community to be concerned about?
noseriously
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August 18, 2012
News? Colburn runs the most patriotic school in the nation. Come for a Veterans Day assembly next time. Flags all up and down the road. Geesh.
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