How do I confront my neighbors about their tattered American flag?

Dear John: The following situation is a bit concerning to me.

Our neighbors, who are immigrants, hang the American flag outside their home. But it is tattered and upside down. How do I approach these neighbors and tell them they are disrespecting our flag, especially on Veterans Day?

Not putting a flag out is preferable to hanging our flag in a disrespectful way.

They have been in the neighborhood a few years and do not speak English. Thanks for your advice. Anonymous

Dear Anonymous: I was really touched by your letter. And not just because it was Veterans Day.

But I was afraid you were getting in over your head because these were neighbors. And what if they were flying the flag that way to send a political message?

So when you asked me for advice, this is what I said: have someone else do it. Specifically, your local VFW Post and have someone there approach your neighbors.

That still could get you in a jam. So I called the VFW Post.

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The folks there were understandably busy on Veterans Day, but a few days later one of them — Joe — went to the offending house and left a note.

Soon afterward, the flag was taken down.

You and Joe are patriots!

I can’t help but recall one of the most touching moments I remember in sports. That was on April 25, 1976, at LA’s Dodger Stadium, when protesters tried to burn an American flag in left-center field.

Chicago Cubs outfielder Rick Monday ran over and snatched the flag before it had been ignited. When Monday came to bat in the top of the fifth inning, there was a message on the scoreboard that said, “Rick Monday … You Made A Great Play.”

I don’t have a big scoreboard. But I do have a column. And what you did was admirable.

The VFW and the neighbor both were thinking about buying the family a new flag, as often happens in cases like this.

But the VFW decided against it. “I’m not interested in them having a flag,” said Joe, “because they don’t know how to take care of it.”

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