It can be hard to go against the people who are in charge. When we defy the status quo and stand up for what we believe to be right, it can bristle other people who do not want to change the way things have been going. For those who benefit from the way things are, making change or progress can be scary because they’re afraid they will lose out and wind up with less.
So when one girl decided to stand up for what she knew was right, she knew that she could face some backlash. She was just 9-years-old after all. And who was she to challenge the way things were going. But she leaned on her abundant courage and ended up doing the right thing.
Because the little girl noticed that a flag was unlit at the National Guard Armory in Lorain, Ohio, she confronted the people in charge and challenged them to honor the country and the people in the military. Because she spoke up, the leaders were quick to take action. It had been a simple oversight to everyone else, but to the 9-year-old hero, it was a big deal.
“We hear a lot about kids today not caring and being stuck to their phones and TV,” Army Lt. Col. Bob Vagner said to The Chronicle in Ohio. “And we’ve been trying to get that light fixed for a while, but one letter from Zoey and it was done in 24 hours.”
While Zoey was the courageous one to take action, it would not have been done if it wasn’t for her 13-year-old brother Ayden who had noticed the flag forgotten at the Ohio National Guard Armory. When her brother told her about the tragedy, Zoey wrote it down in her diary. And she started to check on it every chance she got.
Zoey’s father, Brad Pol, saw how much the unlit flag was bothering his daughter. Because he worked for the National Guard, Zoey felt like the unlit flag was an insult flying in his face.
“It was bothering her,” Brad said. “She was taught proper flag etiquette at McKinley Elementary School last year, and when she told me about it, I suggested she write a letter.”
Zoey took her father’s advice and started composing a letter that would change the way the National Guard Armory in Lorain, Ohio did things. Zoey first notified City Hall about the oversight. Her father was proud.
“I didn’t see the letter,” he said. “I knew about it. She said, ‘I need an envelope.’ I gave her an envelope. She wrote the letter, and she asked me for a stamp. So I gave her the stamp.”
Her father doubted that the city would listen to a nine-year-old girl. But they did. It shocked him.
Deputy Auditor Kitty Koziura got ahold of the letter and was shocked the flag was unlit. A week later, Sgt. 1st Class Andrew J. Harlan wrote Zoey a letter. The honor made her dad emotional. Then the flag was lit.
“I was pretty enamored. I was so proud,” Brad said. “I didn’t know that they were going to treat this this way. So it was definitely a treat.”