When a U.S. Postal worker came upon a resident raising a flag, he had a very interesting reaction. Rochester, NY carrier assistant Robert Franklin was busy making deliveries and getting packages and mail to everyone, but something stopped him in his tracks one Sunday when he spotted a customer in their yard. They were raising the American flag and Robert, a U.S. Army veteran, asked if he could help.
The homeowner declined politely but Robert didn’t just hop in his mail truck and drive away. Rather, he stopped then and there in the yard and gave his full attention to the resident’s flag, saluting it until the flag was fully raised.
A neighbor, Michael Lempert, spotted Robert’s act of patriotism and snapped a photo of the moment, sharing it on social media.
Michael noted: “It wasn’t until I was at my driveway that I realized the USPS driver was not in the truck, but rather standing at attention next to it, saluting the flag my neighbor was raising. I stopped right there and grabbed my camera off the seat next to me, took off my hat, and captured the moment. I then waited until the flag was fully raised before I walked over to introduce myself, asked him for his permission to share this moment, and thanked him for his service.”
He continued: “But again, many thanks to retired U.S. Army sergeant Robert Franklin, who is still serving his country, rain sleet or snow. He is the manifestation of true patriotism, and I am proud to have met him.”
Robert didn’t think anything of his patriotic display or the attention it garnered, telling the news site Link: “I hope it encourages other postal employees to participate and share flag etiquette. It’s a way to show as an arm of the federal government, we are the stewards of these customs and courtesies.”
Among the many people who commented on Michael’s post about the patriotism on display were those who were fans of Robert taking the time to salute. Comments included: “True American,” “very cool,” and “Take notes people. Incredible.”
Another commenter noted: “This is incredible, what an amazing moment to witness and also capture! I’m sure he was happy that you wanted to share it.”
The image also landed on Reddit, where people disputed whether the man should be saluting the flag at all. One commenter pointed out: “Veterans can choose to salute or place their hand over their heart, so no need for headgear or uniform unless you are active duty.”
Others discussed the etiquette surrounding a U.S. flag being raised, with one person pointing out: “the guidelines for how to appropriately act during a flag raising are actually federal law. Military and, as of 2008, veterans salute, all other persons place their right hand over their heart.”
Another commenter noted that they believed “saluting the flag, by anyone, is protected under the First Amendment as Freedom of Expression. If the constitution can protect a person’s right to burn the flag, it sure as hell can protect a person’s right to salute it.”
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