Tattered American flags taken down from local Liberty Tax after - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Tattered American flags taken down from local Liberty Tax after weeks on display

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JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) -

It's a symbol of freedom and democracy, and it's meant to be respected.

Last month, a viewer sent in a photo of three tattered and torn American flags flying atop the Johnson City Liberty Tax Service on Market Street. A week after that complaint, we checked it out ourselves, only to find the same scene.

We had a tough time getting in touch with the store owner, so reached out to a former owner, who said he himself had even received complaints dating back to September.

One example, a Facebook post that read: "I think it is shameful a company that uses patriotism as a gimmick fails to maintain the flags over their business. I have contacted the office on Market St, across from Wal Mart and nothing has been done. The flags are faded, worn and torn and no one at the company seems to care." - Michael Johnson.

Today, a week after Veteran's Day, the flags are gone.

News Channel 11's Kylie McGivern is in your corner, investigating the complaints and getting answers.

Scout Master and disabled veteran Michael Harman went into the military when he was 17 years old.

"My years in the active service and then the reserves side... reflect greatly upon what I think a sense of pride is for that flag," Harman said.

Having served in Afghanistan and Iraq, the American flag has provided stability for Harman, a sense of purpose and meaning for where his life is today.

"From day 1, your uniform as a soldier or a veteran, is an american flag draped on your body," Harman said.

"It's a sense of pride in the country and everything...I know myself, I have three flag poles at my house and I keep that one. It's retired about every month or two with the winds the way it goes at tatters the flag."

But just as important as the display itself, Harman says, is the need to do it properly.

"That should be your responsibility to, to uphold that image of pride and everything like that - to keep that flag serviceable," Harman said.

When it comes time to retire the flag, there's an easy and proper way to dispose of it. All you have to do it fold up your flag, and bring it to one of the several drop off locations. We've provided a link at the bottom of this story with more information.

Instead, following up on complaints about fatigued flags at a local Liberty Tax, we found the flags faded and shredded, blowing in the wind.

McGivern: "So when we first called you about the story that we were working on, what were your initial reactions?"

Harman: "When I first heart everything about it, being from a scouting program - as well as a veteran - if it was a business or anything like that that needed it done, I was more than happy to go and do it myself if anybody could get in touch with the owners or whatnot. I would be willing to replace it myself, just to SEE IT replaced."

Liberty Tax told us that a week prior to our calls, the former franchisee had returned the store to corporate. Still, the faded and tattered flags were left to fly high for weeks on end.

"That should be your responsibility to, to uphold that image of pride," Harman said.

After we alerted the company of local complains going unanswered, it confirmed the landlord has removed the three flags. In the process of getting the situation straightened out, Liberty Tax thanked News Channel 11, emailing: "We appreciate you letting us know," and "Thanks for the alert! I would not want to disrespect our flag in such a horrible display above our stores!!"

If you're looking for a place to retire an old flag, or ways to properly and respectfully display the flag, click here.

Copyright 2013 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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