Symbol of America's freedom is under attack

Opinion column

Thomas Gieryic

Thomas Gieryic

In recent years, our country's symbol of freedom has come under attack. I am not referring to foreign nations stomping on and burning our flag. I am talking about our own government interfering with the right of Americans to display their American flag.

The Internet is full of articles in which the flying of the American flag has raised some sort of controversy. Local governments and, in some cases, state governments, have interfered with the right of individuals to proudly display their American flags.

Earlier in this year I was involved in such a situation. I received a citation for having an" illegal sign" in the right of way. My country's flag is not a sign. It is instead a symbol. It stands for all that is good in this great nation. It stands for the freedoms we enjoy each and every day. It seems that many Americans take these freedoms for granted. These freedoms did not come without much loss of life.

Since the beginning of this great nation, countless men and women have sacrificed their lives to protect our freedoms. No other country in the world enjoys the freedoms we Americans have. We have our men and women in our Armed Forces to thank for that. It is a sad thought that many of us only think about our troops when something terrible happens. Almost every day one or more of our soldiers is killed in battle. These are someone's dad, mother, brother, sister, husband, wife or other relative.

Though we might not know these individuals personally, we should share in the grief their families have. These fallen soldiers deserve our respect. One way of showing that respect is to display your American flag each and every day. Not just on so-called flag holidays.

Earlier in this year, I decided to contact The Albany Herald. I told them I wanted the flag to be displayed in their paper each and every day.

They were excited to help me. They agreed to co-sponsor an ad. I wish I could afford to take out a much larger ad. Wouldn't it be awesome to see an American flag displayed on an entire page? Perhaps in full color.

Maybe one day. Perhaps businesses throughout our city could also sponsor this ad?

As a result of my own flag controversy, I have had the honor of meeting hundreds of active duty as well as retired military personnel from throughout our nation. Not a day goes by when someone who serves or has served in our military doesn't come by my business to thank me for my stand on my flag. They share with me the importance of what displaying my flag means to them. They have served to protect this flag and all it represents. And just like me, it saddens them that so few people and businesses display an American flag.

I must admit that since my flag controversy, many new flags are indeed being displayed in this city. I, along with our military personnel, thank you for this.

Would it not be awesome to see American flags flying all the way up and down our city streets and throughout our neighborhoods? It amazes me at how many flagpoles I see in Albany with no flag on them.

I don't understand it. Perhaps these flagpole owners don't know where to purchase a flag? Maybe they do not know how to raise their flag. As for businesses in town, the Marine Corps League would be proud to give you a new flag to display. If these individuals were to contact me, I would be happy in assisting them. I can be reached at (229) 432-0351 or (229) 881-3705. My name is Tom Gieryic.

Few things are more beautiful than our nation's flag waving so gallantly in the wind. Please join me in displaying our country's symbol each and every day. Dig out those stored flags and display them with pride all year long.

Thomas Gieryic is the owner of Gieryic's Dawson Road Automotive Repair in Albany.


Abytaxpayer 2 years, 10 months ago

Thank You Tom for taking your Stand. You have proved you are not only a True Patriot, but a Gentleman and Businessman who wants to work for a better community despite being bullied by the gun totting goons. Just so everyone knows Tom worked to immediately comply with the Antibusiness leaders of Albany and not only moved his flag (sign) but put up a very nice pole to display his flag, yet the sign that started all the trouble for Tom, and is owned by someone else, still sits in disrepair and looks like crap. Go figure. Nice move Judy (The antibusiness lead attack dog) and just how “Legal” are your monuments .aaaaaa I mean gateway signs? And THANK YOU to all the soldiers who fought for me to have the right to speak my mind.


waltspecht 2 years, 10 months ago

Now wouldn't it be really great if everyone knew what was written in the Flag Code, and followed it as a guideline? One of my pet peaves is people lowering the Flag to Half Staff without a Presidential or Gubenatorial Proclaimation. I sometimes have difficulty with how this Honor, above all others, is conveyed. However, at least it is proclaimed. I have been told to just be happy folks are flying the Flag, and worry about how they fly it someother time.


QUIK 2 years, 10 months ago

Albany has very particular sign laws that do hinder business growth, but this is something that most in the city agree with. For example the alcohol sales law which other business owners would say limits their freedom. A much more lacked sign law would serve to bring growth, jobs and attention to the city. As an example, the Civic Center sign is a complete joke in its size and ability to inform. Everyone has their particular way of showing their love of country and support. I would beg to differ that only in this country do we have the greatest amount of freedom and there is thing about too much freedom. I tend to support the troops by speaking out for their rapid return from so many countries (like Rep. Ron Paul) and conflicts that have little or no evidence of protecting our freedom. Flying the American flag is good but for me the respect and tolerance we have for each other is the true sign of patriotism.


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