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Veterans Upset Over Fayetteville Flag Flap

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — In a military town, there is nothing much more sacred than the American flag. Fayetteville veterans are concerned about a huge flag being flown by a company on a major thoroughfare leading to Fort Bragg.

Jesse Kirkland lives in the Eccles Park community of Fayetteville, which is made up of many veterans. When walking or driving out of the neighborhood, residents said the flag they see on top of a 150-foot pole is often loose or torn.

"I figure somewhere along the line somebody doesn't care. I care about the flag because I spent too much time under it fighting others," Kirkland said.

The flagpole off Murchison Road is actually a digital telephone antenna in disguise. The company that owns it, American Tower Corporation, is out of South Carolina. Veterans said they have tried to contact the company, but the flag can fly damaged for days.

"It's their responsibility. They put it there. If they can't take responsibility, the city or somebody should get onto them about it," veteran Billy Manning said.

The veterans were so upset that they went to City Hall. City Manager Roger Stancil said by law, they cannot regulate the look of the flag, but Fayetteville is still stepping in to try and help.

"The site manager's problem is that they don't have anyone in Fayetteville looking at the flag. They are in another state," Stancil said. "We suggested they get in contact with the community watch there and let them be their eyes."

In the long-term, the city would like to turn the flagpole into an art structure.

The general manager of American Tower told WRAL that he knows it is a sensitive issue and as a result of the complaints, the company has implemented new procedures. The company that leases the tower and maintenance workers will now watch for problems with the flag. They also plan to contact Kirkland and ask him to be a watchdog.