To the Editor:

On Dec. 14, the Herald published two letters regarding the respect being shown Nelson Mandela’s passing by flying our U.S. flag at half-staff.

The letter written by Patricia Muldrow Roberts laid out a very good reason to honor Mr. Mandela in such a fashion. Like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. before him, Mandela stood up for his beliefs, paid the social price for opposing an oppressive and evil regime, and still could forgive those who had wronged him. That is an astounding thing and so rare that the love and commitment move most of us.

T. R. Pappas, on the other hand, had difficulty with that, since lowering the flags to honor Mandela fell on the same day as the remembrance of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. There are relatively few people alive who remember or were directly affected by that day and so it does not have the same impact as the recent death of a hero of the human struggle to be free and respected.

Still, I see no reason why Mr. Pappas could not have done both if he wanted to. There was no impediment to him lowering the flag at his house in honor of those who died on Dec. 7, 1941.

Flags are symbols and as such only have the meaning we put into them. Nelson Mandela died in the week prior to Pearl Harbor Day and the flags were lowered until his burial. It just happened that way, and I don’t believe any slight was meant.

Glenda Turck


(9) comments


You threw me for a loop with your statement, 'Pope John Paul was white'. If your Dad was in the National guard before enlisting in the Regular Army in 1918 and served in both wars, I congratulate him. I too was born before the start of WW II tho I wasn't old enough to enlist. My statements as to the Japanese in the 442, the black troops that served in the Red Tail Squadron, and the Navajo Code talkers that served in the Pacific was just that, signified by multiracial troops. As I mentioned, these troops, who served and died are too numerous to mention here.
But what was your motivation in your statement, 'Oh that is right – John Paul II was white'. And you say you are not a bigot? By your statement, it says otherwise. As I said earlier, John Paul II was the reining Pope of the Catholic Church. Mandela was a previous head of state. I personally believe that all of the Veterans 'who died in battle' far exceed the scope of Mandela and who was a communist. I believe, for our setting President and 2 past Presidents to journey to the foreign land, and not be present on December 7, 2013, well it says volumes to me, that our President did not deem it important to be here and preside over the ceremonies, it was shoved off to the Vice President.
I feel we, as a Nation, are completely baffled by the current events, mainly how to conduct ourselves. We are to blinded by 'being absolutely politically correct' that we don't know how to conduct ourselves anymore. A current topic, which I think of the name right now, but it involved a young woman who said 'She was going to South Africa and she hoped she didn't contract AIDS, the she said she was joking'. She was fired because of people went into an uproar and popular opinion prevails in all cases. This woman was from South Africa. She meant it as a joke and so stated the fact, 'but being politically correct is the most important thing, not common sense'. We have gotten to the point that people cannot converse between themselves for fear of being thought as 'politically correct'.
I'll get down off my soap box now.


As an afterthought, think about the Army Unit 442 – they were Japanese that fought against the Germans, and the Red Tails, a black unit that fought against the Germans, and of course we include the Navajo Code Talkers who fought against the Japanese. There are many more to numerous to mention, but all were instrumental, and many died.


@Momma Griz;
You had to introduce color into it didn't you. When you feel like your side is loosing, pull the fall-back position, color. Now I guess you'll try the racist position.
I'm not up on history but if I'm not mistaken Pope John Paul II 'died' while holding his position of the head of the Catholic Church. I don't think Mandela held an office as such. We were discussing the position of importance that being the Veteran of the World Wars, which numbers into the 10's of thousands killed plus hundred's of thousands maimed and wounded VS one individual, who was not even in office at the time of his death. You relate Pres. George Bush, 2005 to Obama, 2013, 'if he can do it', what is this, a pi**ing contest? What an analogy. What about the U.S. Veterans? I suggest you take up your books and read about wars WWI and WWII. There were all shades of men, and women, killed during those two prolonged engagements. They died so that you could live free, free of the burden of not being under the Hitler and Japanese regimes. Mandela was a Communist. He spoke against the U.S. and our way of life and he is praised? I can only be thankful that our forefathers thought this way of life was valued so as to fight, and die for it, so that we could appreciate the life we are living today. Be careful that we do not squander it.

Mamma Griz

Alvin-- why should I take up my books and read about WW1 and WW2? My dad was in both wars-- in fact, he was in the Texas National Guard before he entered the regular Army in 1918. I was born BEFORE WW2 and lived through it. My dad was a POW of the Japanese for 39 months in WW2. So YOU want to tell me about WW2? You read the history books-- tell me about the conditions my friends in Manila (Philippine Islands) had to live through during WW2. Tell me about the Bataan Death March-- I knew guys who survived it. Tell me about the prison camps-- I knew men who survived them (both German and Japanese prison camps). Oh BTW, I am Caucasian. I have lived among people of all ethnicities. I am not a bigot.

Mamma Griz

"In fact, the last foreign dignitary to be memorialized with the flag was Pope John Paul II in 2005." Let me see. 2005, President George H W Bush. If he can do it, President Obama surely can. After all, he was doing just what G H W Bush did-- and Pope John Paul II was not a citizen of this country either. Oh that is right-- Pope John Paul II was white.


@ Flags are symbols and as such only have the meaning we put into them.

You keep proving additional points about liberals each time you write your own liberal views. I take it ,the American Flag has no real meaning to you although only as long as it fly's freely will you and yours have the freedom to have any free thought at all.

Concerning the country's flag as only a symbol, I would think then, you would have no problem either, with those who burn the flag out of hatred for it and the country it represents, or people like another liberal, Bill Ayres, who stood on the American Flag for the cover of a book he was hoping to make USD's off of.

The flag as flown at half mast, during the days following Mandela's death,done by orders of the president or those he's answerable to.
I don't think it was flown that way out of respect, But to make use of the old man's name and death for their own benefit to influence the ones they need at the moment.
Otherwise if done out of respect ,
the goofing off pictures of the president (article at UK web site below) ,British PM David Cameron, and the Danish PM Schmidt ,would never have been taken during Mandela's funeral proceedings. It was rather embarrassing to the country's people and from the looks of the presidents wife, Michelle Obama also..

You're wrong when you think there aren't any left from the days of Pearl Harbor, I know of one myself who was a 4 year old girl on the beach of Pearl Harbor that day the Japanese made their sneak attack on the shores. She lived because she and mother and sister were able to run fast after being given the warning. Her fathers ship had to return to sea were it remained for 6 additional months.
She for one, would be upset that no regard was made on Dec 7th 2013, for the old fighters from Pearl Harbor but such high regard was made for Mr. Mandela.

Nelson Mandela memorial service: World leaders gather in South Africa Dec 10, 2013 By Sofia Munez - At UK-USA ON LINE


For once Bubba, I agree with you. I've searched my memory bank, which sometimes can be faulty, but my memory says that in the past we did not pay homage to any foreign dignitary, for any reason. This country, which is based on a capitalistic form of Government, should not give homage to someone who is a communist, regardless of the reason. This country comes first and foremost. The 10's of thousands who gave the ultimate sacrifice should be honored above all. If that is becoming dim memories to people, especially the younger generation, then it behooves all of us to teach the children where their freedoms come from. Never let the memories fade.


Whether there are any remaining citizens directly affected by the events at Pearl Harbor is immaterial. For your information, there happen to be quite a few.

The death of a foreigner, no matter how important to world events, does not take priority over AMERICAN issues.

The proper solution was to authorize the lowering of the Flag of the United States in response to the death of Mandela for a period which should have ended on 5 December. On 6 December, flags should have been flown at full staff; then lowered again on the 7th.

A real American President would have known that.

Mamma Griz

Thank you, Glenda, for your letter. December 7 could have meant different things to different people. It could have meant Pearl Harbor Day-- which it probably did to many WW2 veterans and certainly did to me-- or it could have meant it was another day of the week or it could have meant honor to Mandela. It all depended on your mindset-- and how you thought that day. Me, my thought was on Pearl Harbor Day and not on anyone or anything else.

Pearl Harbor Day-- I was of grade school age. Pearl Harbor Day meant we lost thousands of men, the big war was started, my dad was going to be in that war and he was-- even was a Prisoner of War of the Japanese for 39 months. He was one of the lucky ones who returned home and he finished out his military career at Camp/Fort Hood. Yes, it was Camp Hood when he came and retired three months after it became Fort Hood.

Again, thank you for your letter explaining things that anyone should realize.

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