Home > News > Content

Veteran Marine Gives County Big Flag

Apr 06, 2017

Veterans have been in the local news a lot lately, and for very good reasons. They want to improve the delivery of local health care they receive from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. I spoke with two key men with the VA and wrote about that elsewhere in today's edition. 

There was another Vietnam War veteran, Jim Jones, who served in the Marine Corps. He deserves recognition because few others would have taken the initiative he did.

Countless motorists daily drive past the Historic Courthouse on North Main Street in Court House. In front of that grand, 19th Century edifice is a very tall flagpole. Usually, atop that pole waves a grand flag of monumental proportion.

To veterans, like Jones, and others whose hearts thump faster and prouder when they think about the flag and all it means, seeing that flag is important.

To many, including this writer, viewing that red-white-and-blue flag fluttering over the county seat, makes a statement: this is home, it's a great place to live.

While our land may have many faults, it beats second-place hands down. It is part of the reason why, when we were about 18, we thought it was the right thing to do to enter military service.

So it was that there was a recent spate of ugly weather. There was wind and rain direct from the northeast. If you live on a barrier island you know what it was all about.

On those hellish days, the grand-sized flag was hauled down and a small flag raised in its place. Although it was still the Stars and Stripes, just a mini version of the other, the flag didn't meet muster in Jones' eyes.

Doing what Marines do best, Jones recalled the corps' motto: Semper Fidelis. That's Latin for "always faithful."

He decided to take measures into his own hands and procure a big flag, just in case there was some reason the other one was taken down.

On March 28, wearing his Marines sweatshirt, Jones attended the freeholders' caucus meeting. He presented that big flag to Director Gerald Thornton on behalf of the county. He said it bothered him to see "that scrawny little thing" at the top of the pole, even though it was the nation's flag.

Richard Neill, representing the county's Facilities and Services Department, was at Jones' side at the presentation. He said the reason the smaller flag flew in the inclement weather, was because it was deemed dangerous to fly the large flag in high (40 mph or over) winds.

Few would have taken the time, or even given thought, as did Jones to the flag and its size. He remained faithful to his flag, and for that, he deserves recognition.

He could have done nothing, which is what most of us did when we saw the small flag flying. He could have written a Spout Off and wondered, anonymously, what happened to the big flag that once flew there. He could have complained in a barbershop that no one gives a hoot any more, because, see what they did to the big flag?

Instead, he took the initiative and got a big flag and took it to the people who run the county.

Jones deserves a hand for "conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty." Well done.

His action refreshed President Richard Nixon's quotation, "We must always remember that America is a great nation today not because of what government did for people but because of what people did for themselves and for one another."

Veteran Marine Gives County Big Flag flag made by johnin