The American flag at half-staff is a common symbol of remembering the fallen heroes of the United States. However, the act of doing so ended up getting Allen Thornwell, a former North Carolina veteran, fired from Time Warner Cable, he claims.
In times of nationwide mourning, it is usually customary in the United States to lower the flag. On Memorial Day 2016, millions across the nation paid their respects to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the freedoms many of us take for granted. Even following the shooting deaths of Michael Brown and other unarmed black men, President Barack Obama lowered the White House’s American flag to half-staff. It was a symbol of respect for victims of injustice.
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There is a running debate over whether Time Warner Cable was right in not lowering the flag themselves on Memorial Day, but the company hasn’t stated publicly that Thornwell’s action led to his termination. There is a code regarding the U.S. flag that states that any business flying the flag should lower it by noon on Memorial Day and then return it to its original position. It is unknown if this flag code is considered law, but Thornwell had allegedly lowered it at around 2:30 p.m..
Time Warner Cable’s company policy states that no one is allowed to touch the flagpole, and it seems Thornwell wasn’t thinking about that when he took the time to remember the fallen.
Allen Thornwell said that he was thinking about a fellow soldier who had returned from overseas with post-traumatic stress disorder. The fellow Marine, Sergeant Geoffrey Day, had committed suicide two years later. Thornwell felt the need to show his respect when he saw the American flag not at half-staff on Memorial Day and immediately walked over to make it so.
When Charlotte veteran Allen Thornwell lowered his employer’s American flag to half-staff on Memorial Day, he… https://t.co/vpQrzHik0A
— Discount Flags Plus (@discountflags) June 7, 2016
Thornwell was later informed that when he lowered the flag himself, the company was disturbed by his “passion for the flag and (his) political affiliation.” The former Marine says he doesn’t even have a political affiliation. He later made a video on his phone for other soldiers still overseas, where he informed them that “this is what the people back home think about us.”
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Allen Thornwell was fired from his job at Time Warner Cable after he lowered the… https://t.co/78i5t3TgU3
— Shelle (@publicrelations) June 6, 2016
When contacted on Friday, Time Warner Cable simply stated that Thornwell was no longer under contract and made no further comment.
When contacted, Thornwell told reporters about his disappointment over the company’s reaction to him lowering the American flag to half-staff.
“I’m not even mad right now. I don’t know what kind of moral compass you need to fire a veteran on Memorial Day for lowering the flag.”
Allen Thornwell even said that he has never been considered out of control or disrespectful. The guard who had escorted him back to his workstation told him he understood, having also been a veteran, he says. Allen didn’t even know he was doing anything wrong and wasn’t aware of the policy until afterward, he stated.
Charlotte attorney Murph Archibald says his client should have never lost his job for lowering the American flag to half-staff.
“It’s disgraceful. He didn’t do anything wrong. He’s a veteran working on Memorial Day who corrected what he thought was a disrespectful flying of the American flag… I would have taken it down myself.”
What do you think of Thornwell’s actions and Time Warner Cable’s response?
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