Marine reservist removes tattered flag at apartment complex

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on October 16, 2012 at 8:09 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 16 at 10:25 AM

PLANO — The American flag is a symbol of honor; a symbol to be respected.

But a Marine reservist in Plano says the flag wasn't displayed with either in mind at his apartment complex, so he took action.

Currently, there is no flag flying outside the Steeplechase apartment complex. But there was one flying there last week.

It's no longer there because when Cpl. Michael Perez saw it, he didn't like the condition it was in, and took it down.

The flag was torn to shreds.

"When you see it ripped up like that, it's insulting," Perez said. "It's embarrassing."

Perez reported the tattered flag to apartment management on Saturday. On Sunday, early morning storms damaged it even further.

So Perez decided to take the flag down.

"We as Americans have a duty," the Marine said. "This is our allegiance and pride."

Cindy Duffy, a spokeswoman for Aimco Apartment Investment and Management Company, said the frayed flag was reported to them on Friday and placed on the to-do list to for replacement.

She said managers tried to take it down on Saturday, but didn't have a ladder.

On Sunday, when their service manager went out to take it down, Duffy said they found it had already been removed.

"They did say the flag was their property, and that I was prohibited from touching any of the flagpoles ever again,” Perez said said.

Perez said this isn't the first time he's taken down a flag. He said he did the same thing a year ago.

Duffy said this isn't about disrespect. "We have the utmost respect for the American flag, and Mr. Perez and other men and women who defend it," she said. "Safety is the top priority for us. We're concerned when residents run the risk of falling and being hurt."

Perez said he took the battered flag to the Plano VFW post, where a group of Boy Scouts will eventually dispose of it properly.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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