To the editor:
An unfortunate event happened at the Duchesne County Fair parade this year that once again illustrates how pomp and ceremony can border on desecration of the flag of the United States of America.Regardless of what the attorney general or other officials may say, it remains the patriotic position of the American Legion posts, district and Department of Utah that "no one or thing will precede or go before the American flag when being displayed in a parade."
This certainly was not the case this year when the Utah Highway Patrol motorcycle escort jumped out in front of the American flag honor guard and led the parade through the main street of Duchesne. Not only did they lead and the American flag follow, but the American Legion honor guard bearing the colors of our great nation was forced to stop on three occasions and "mark time" as the motorcycle patrol performed its maneuvers.
To make a bad situation worse, tempers flared and words were exchanged between the honor guard and the Highway Patrol. And in a final show of contempt for each other, the last motorcycle nearly collided with Duane Merriweather as he carried the American flag.
The American Legion cannot demand that we be honored as men who served our country, but we do demand that the flag of the United States be honored and respected as a symbol of the freedoms that we all enjoy.
In defense of the Utah Highway Patrol, they certainly are an elite, dedicated, professional group of men and women whom we all admire and respect. We must find a way for these two groups of professionals to show their dedication to God and country without conflict.
Basil Lugenbeel, commander,
American Legion Post No. 22,