Army Specialist Eric T. Burri died June 7, 2005 while on active duty in Iraq
A flag at half-mast in Newark, NJ, as per the order of Republican Gov. Chris Christie, February 18, 2012
Johnny Cash: That Ragged Old Flag
February 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm
Dad of fallen Michigan soldier burns N.J. flag to protest Houston tribute
By Steve Pardo
The Detroit News
Wyoming, Mich. - A Michigan man whose son was killed while on patrol in Iraq in 2005 burned the New Jersey flag on his outdoor grill in protest after learning flags in that state were ordered flown at half-staff for the death of Whitney Houston.
John Burri said lowering of flags should be for those who have given their lives for their country.
"It was a slap in the face. It cheapens the meaning of lowering that flag," said Burri, 60. "They're watering down the meaning of a hero."
Burri traveled to Flags Unlimited in nearby Grand Rapids and bought a New Jersey flag - just so he could burn it.
"It was $12.95 and it was the best money I ever spent," he said.
He purposely slammed it in his trunk and drove it home but at first passing through a veteran's memorial park in Wyoming where there's a brick with his son's name on it, in his honor.
"I didn't do this to offend the people of New Jersey," he said. "If I did and you're offended, I'm sorry. But I did this because it was wrong and it was to show the governor (of New Jersey) how wrong this was."
His son, Army Specialist Eric T. Burri, died June 7, 2005 while on active duty in Iraq. Burri, 21 of Wyoming, just south of Grand Rapids was killed when an improvised explosive device went off near his vehicle in Baghdad. Gov. Jennifer Granholm ordered flags to be lowered on June 15, 2005 for one day in honor of his service.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was criticized for his decision to order flags to be flown at half-staff. In published reports on Wednesday, he defended his decision. Christie said Houston was a "cultural icon" who was as source of pride to New Jersey residents.
Granholm absorbed criticism of her own in 2003 after she decreed that flags be lowered for every Michigan soldier killed in the line of duty. Defenders of the U.S. Flag Code said she went too far. The national flag code, adopted in 1942, says the flag shall be flown at half staff by order of the president " … upon the death of principal figures of the United States government and the governor of a state, territory or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory.
At the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs website The flag should be flown at half-staff when directed by the president or the governor.
President George W. Bush in 2007 signed into a law a bill named after a Michigan soldier killed in Iraq that requires federal facilities to observe a governor's decree for flags to be flown at half staff to honor slain soldiers.
The bill was named after Army Specialist Joseph P. Micks, a 22-year-old Rapid River man killed July 8, 2006 in Ar Ramadi after an explosive device went off near his vehicle during combat operations.
Then-U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, said he learned of "uneven respect" in areas of the state when it came to lowering flags by a governor decree. The legislation would "ensure consistency in how we honor fallen heroes," Stupak said in 2007.
[Thanks to reader-researcher RC for this story.
Previously, on Whitney Houston, at WEJB/NSU:
“Whitney Houston Dead at 48: Racist Singer Found Submerged in Beverly Hills Hilton Bathtub Saturday; She Struggled for Years with Drug Addiction; Cause of Death Pending”;
“Thou Shalt Not Blaspheme the Diva: Fox Tampa Bay Facebook Censor Deletes Less than Worshipful Memory of Whitney Houston”;
“Hosts of KFI’s John & Ken Show Suspended for Telling the Truth about Whitney Houston; Reconquistas Demand Termination; Prosecution to Follow?”
“Whitney Houston Singing the Star-Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl (1991): Did She Set the Standard?”; and
“Whitney Houston’s Family Refuses to Invite Her Ex, Bobby Brown to Her Funeral Service, Then Invites Him, but (Says Brown) Harasses Him, Until He Walks Out.”]
A Different Johnny Cash Performance: 1990, at Star Spangled Branson
Thanks to Hippekuln!