Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

State Flag Just Can't Top Nation's Flag

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

State Flag Just Can't Top Nation's Flag

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson, Times-Union staff writer

Franklin A. "Nick" Hart Jr. wants the Georgia flag changed.

And unlike the cadre of protestors who dogged former Gov. Roy Barnes for dumping their beloved Confederate battle emblem, Hart is upset that the Stars and Stripes adorns the new Georgia flag.

"It's illegal," Hart said.

Flag etiquette says the national flag never should be used as a decoration or subordinated to another national or state flag. But there it is, stuck on the bottom of Georgia's flag with all the glory of a refrigerator magnet.

The new Georgia flag includes a row of smaller flags. Those flags consist of the 13-star U.S. flag, the 50-star U.S. flag and three versions of the state flag.

As a charter member and past chairman of the Veterans Council of the Golden Isles, Hart is crafting a letter to state Rep. Jerry Keen, R-St. Simons Island, explaining the problem. Keen wants the opinion of the Veterans Council, which represents two American Legion posts, two VFW posts, the Marine Corps League, the Navy League and a local chapter of Disabled American Veterans, among others.

The presence of the Confederate battle emblem on the former flag angered many African-Americans. The improper use of the American flag angers veterans of all races, Hart said.

The Veterans Council of the Golden Isles isn't concerned with the Confederate flag, he said.

"We're veterans. We fought for the American flag," he said.

Many who want the Confederate battle emblem back fume that Barnes robbed them of a symbol of their heritage. Some of them have pictures of Robert E. Lee hanging in their homes. So does Hart, but his study is dominated by a picture and bust of another four-star general -- his father, the late Franklin A. Hart Sr.

Talk about heritage. Maj. Gen. Hart's first service was under Black Jack Pershing against Pancho Villa in the Mexican border uprising in 1915. …

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