VA Hospital Makes Veteran Take Down Confederate Flag
FAST FACTS: VA Hospital veteran told he can't have the Confederate Flag in his room Veteran and his family are upset, saying it's part of their heritage The VA Hospital says it's against policy and staff and other patients complained
Seventy-five year old Perry Thrasher is a veteran in the spinal cord unit at the Memphis VA Hospital. He is paralyzed, but his family says he wanted a confederate flag for his room. "His granddaddy was in the Confederate War and it means a lot to him because he served in it. It's just his heritage," says Diane Boatner, Thrasher's daughter. She was shocked by what happened Friday. "He was all upset and crying. The VA Police had come and told him he couldn't have it. He had it right over his bed," says Boatner. She says a nurse saw the flag and was offended. Hospital police said the flag had to come down.
The hospital says others were also upset. "I just went to the ward over there and they said it was offensive and they did not like what it portrayed and they asked we remove it. We had to do what the guidelines say. We are a federal facility," says Willie Logan, Public Information Officer for the VA Hospital. The only flag allowed inside is the United States flag. Outside, the hospital also flies the State of Tennessee Flag and the POW Flag. "People should be able to fly any flag in America. They are taking all our freedom away. People died for that flag just like the American flag today," says Kathy Davis of Ripley. "If it's that small, I don't see where it would hurt right there for him," says Ulysses Walker of Dyersburg. "They want their flags; let them fly them in their house, not in public. Only one flag, the U.S. Flag," says Korean War Veteran Roy Rook. "He's the one laying there can't move, paralyzed. If that makes him happy, he's the one laying there looking at it," says Thrasher's daughter.
The VA Hospital said since Mr. Thrasher has been a long time patient; they will allow him to have the flag in a drawer, in his room. But if anyone tries to hang it, his family will have to remove it from the hospital completely.