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OT: A Marine's flag, in ashes...


Thumper

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I just don't know what to say...

 

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/119267792596220.xml&coll=7&thispage=2

 

Flags flew the May day they buried Dale Peterson. They lined the streets of Burns, where hundreds watched, hands on hearts, as his coffin passed. One flag, in particular, made it to Dale's dad.

 

Greg Peterson, former sheriff of Harney County, went home to Redmond and hung the flag beside his front door. And there it flew, day and night, for the toddler he carried on his back into the Blue Mountains, for the boy he taught to fish the Malheur River, for the only son he sent to Iraq.

 

Sunday morning, as Greg Peterson left for church, he found the flag. Someone had torn it down, drenched it in lighter fluid and burned it. Ashes and the charred wooden flagpole lay scattered. "This was personal," he thought.

 

He walked back inside and called police.

 

Flags at nine other Redmond homes had also been torched overnight. A video camera at one home captured images of the culprits. On Tuesday, police arrested four teenagers, including three 17-year-old students at Redmond High School where Dale Peterson graduated in 2005.

 

That night, Greg Peterson sat at a friend's desk in Coos Bay where he traveled this week to train police officers. And in an open letter he began to type:

 

"I want you to know what that flag meant to me . . ."

 

"The flag you burned had flown over the United States Capitol. It was one of my son's goals to be a United States Marine. He put a lot of effort into it and graduated top of his class as a combat engineer. He also shot as an expert and his PT (physical training) score was 290. I am very proud of my son but words cannot express the so

 

rrow I feel from his death. Dale, like most men and women in our armed services, had the courage to put his life on the line for our country.

 

"I ask myself, what courage do you have, and your reason for burning our country's flag?"

 

As he wrote, his friend, Dennis Canaday, watched, angry. He'd long admired Peterson, who lost his 2000 re-election bid by fewer than 40 votes in part because he refused to campaign. Peterson is now a police training officer for the state.

 

"What happened to that inner voice that says, 'This guy is grieving, and we should let him be,' " Canaday wondered about the teenagers.

 

Lance Cpl. Peterson was not an angel, his dad says. But he knew he needed a diploma to get into the Marines. The only boy among three sisters, he worked hard and played hard, trailing behind the father who taught him to fish, hunt and drive a Ford pickup in the open spaces they called "the Last Frontier."

 

He was 20 and had been in Iraq less than a month when on April 23 his team stopped to investigate a roadside bomb in Anbar province. But another bomb exploded beneath their vehicle, killing Peterson and another Marine.

 

A day before, the young Peterson e-mailed his dad. The two were at that delicate stage where a man who leaves home and marries -- in this case to fellow Marine Regina Peterson -- begins seeing a parent as a friend.

 

"I think about him every day," his dad said Wednesday. "I think people pay lip service to our vets and the people who served this country in the military, and it's very frustrating to me."

 

The teenagers are accused of arson, abuse of venerated objects, reckless burning, reckless endangering, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief, said Redmond Police Capt. Brian McNaughton, but were "highly upset when they found out who the flag belonged to."

 

"I don't think they really knew what they were doing; they just did a stupid kid thing, not as any protest or against the United States or authority," McNaughton said. "They just went out and did one and thought it was funny and decided to go find some more and keep doing it."

 

Redmond High Principal Jon Bullock said all were saddened by the negative attention the incident would bring but "more importantly, the family of Dale Peterson is having to deal with not just the loss of a flag, but all the emotions that go with honoring their son." Bullock said he expects that people will come together and heal.

 

Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., who had given Peterson the original flag, has arranged for a replacement.

 

But flag, or no, Greg Peterson will get up today and think of his son, who as a student at Redmond High wrote: "When I was growing up . . . I didn't like to be led around and told what to do by my peers. If they were going to do something illegal or damaging to a person's feelings or property, I had the willpower to stand up and leave."

 

Kathleen Blythe of The Oregonian research staff contributed to this report. Julie Sullivan: 503-221-8068; juliesullivan@news.oregonian.com

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I was an idiot when I was a kid and these kids are idiots...as they say "youth is wasted on the young".




Dan

 

 

 

I dont think thats an excuse, Dan...I did some pretty low, raunchy things when I was a kid but never would the thought of burning my country's flag in any capacity be on that list.....

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I was an idiot when I was a kid and these kids are idiots...as they say "youth is wasted on the young".




Dan

 

 

Yeah, there is a difference from doing stupid things and being a complete asshole intentionally. Any kid, as stupid as they can be, knows what's right and wrong. Punk ass idiots like these knew they were doing wrong and had a good fun time doing it. They're not going to care at all to what the dad is dealing with either. I'd charge and prosecute them with whatever would stick, and let them carry that record around for the rest of their lives. Then they may actually, possibly think twice or outside of themselves when they're on to their next stupid thing. Punks.

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Yeah, there is a difference from doing stupid things and being a complete asshole intentionally. Any kid, as stupid as they can be, knows what's right and wrong. Punk ass idiots like these knew they were doing wrong and had a good fun time doing it. They're not going to care at all to what the dad is dealing with either. I'd charge and prosecute them with whatever would stick, and let them carry that record around for the rest of their lives. Then they may actually, possibly think twice or outside of themselves when they're on to their next stupid thing. Punks.

 

 

They're 17, they'll carry that record until they're 18. The joy of being a minor... I don't have to carry around a possession of marijuana charge. Woohoo!

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Says the guy who called my stepdad a faggot for shooting a moose.
:rolleyes:

I have always had a love for animals.....i choose to love them....feed them....and watch them.....I stop my high dollar sports car if there is a turtle in the road.......I never enjoyed one moment of the war.....one thing it taught me through..killin ain"t neat...........AND NEITHER IS YOUR STEP-DADDY

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I have always had a love for animals.....i choose to love them....feed them....and watch them.....I stop my high dollar sports car if there is a turtle in the road.......I never enjoyed one moment of the war.....one thing it taught me through..killin ain"t neat...........AND NEITHER IS YOUR STEP-DADDY

 

 

I sure think he's neat. I have enough moose, elk, and antelope to last me until March.

 

{censored} you and your "high dollar sports car."

 

I hope this father finds peace, and I hope that the people out there in the media that think this was a good thing will keep their {censored}ing mouths shut and not try to apologize for the kids involved. I honestly think those kids listened to one too many Rage Against the Machine tracks and decided to do it as an act of impotent protest.

C7

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