One Man's Patriotic Mission Replace Tattered Flag

by Shannon Royster

ANTIOCH, Tenn. – A routine trip to Walmart turned into anything but for one Middle Tennessee man. He was walking in when he zeroed in on the condition of the American flag flying overhead, and he couldn't believe his eyes.

Marty Copley said he has a true love for the United States and the American flag.

"It represents more than you can put into words," he said. "To me it's that freedom, it's sacrifice it's what were supposed to feel about America."

He's been flying a flag in his front yard for the past couple of years, so when he stopped by his local Walmart and saw the flag tattered and torn he knew he had to speak up.

"It touched me that something needs to be done," Copley said

First Copley said he thought an employee could replace the torn flag with one of the American made flags sold inside the store.

"I took it to the customer service desk and she asked me how she could help me," he said. "I explained the situation and said just mark this one out of store stock and hang it."

When that didn't work and the tattered flag was still seen flying two days later, Copley said he talked to a store manager.

"He assured me he'd have it taken care of that day, and that was February 28th," said Copley.

There's no law against flying a torn flag, but when we showed Dean Tuttle with the American Legion the state of the flag he said it's just not right.

"It's better to remove the flag and not have anything there than to disrespect it by not properly flying the flag," said Tuttle.

Copley appreciates the fact that Walmart flies the flag, but he said he wants it to be shown the respect its due.

"When you think of Sam Walton and how he came to be that's the American dream," said Copley. "Then you see a company that is his legacy flying the flag that represents what he built the company on .. it's a disgrace."

Walmart told NewsChannel 5 have already put up a new flag. They said the old flag was given to the boy scouts so it can be properly disposed.

They issued a statement saying:

"We apologize to anyone who may have been upset. It was not anyone's intention to be disrespectful."

To properly dispose of the American Flag, you don't throw it away. You can contact any American Legion post or Boy Scout troop. Twice a year the post will destroy the old flags they've collected in a formal flag ceremony either on Memorial Day or Flag Day.