TEQUESTA, Fl. — “That’s a symbol of our nation. You can’t disrespect it,” said Bill Corbett, who was speaking about an American flag found on the dirt behind a Tequesta shopping plaza. Corbett is an Army veteran who served in Vietnam decades ago.
Bill’s friend, Parker Fitzsimmons, called him early Thursday morning to let him know the flag was on the ground.
“When the flag is on the ground, you don’t leave her, you guard her,” Fitzsimmons says.
The Tequesta resident first noticed the flag was hanging upside down over the weekend.
“If a flag is flown upside down it means a country is in distress,” Fitzsimmons says.
Instead, the flag was in distress. The flag, which was about 30-40 feet wide, once flew from a tower more than 100 feet over the plaza.
Rob Martin of Jupiter, a Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan, helped the men fold the flag.
“When you fight for it or you see the flag draped over a casket of your fallen brother, it tends to take a higher meaning,” Martin says.
Tequesta Village manager Michael Couzzo says he called the local fire department to try to fix the flag earlier in the week, but he says the flag was too high for them to reach.
The three veterans folded the flag and brought it to Couzzo Thursday afternoon.
Couzzo says it will be disposed of properly, which means the flag that was tattered and on the ground will be burned.
Village staff say the company that owns the tower, American Tower Corporation, will install a new flag Friday morning.
The company says it received phone calls regarding the condition of the flag, but the three veterans stepped in to help before the Boston-based company could send a crew.