Dan Gilmore / Apr. 21, 2015

Veteran Arrested for Refusing to Give up American Flag

A group of protesters at Valdosta State University had cast the American flag on the ground and were walking all over it when Michelle Manhart snatched it away from them. “It was tattered and torn, covered with mud and dirt,” the former Air Force training instructor said. “I told the demonstrators that it needed to be properly disposed of.” Instead, campus police led her away in handcuffs when she didn’t let Old Glory go after they ordered her to. It’s a situation that has kindled anew discussions over the flag code, free speech and … pornography.

See, this isn’t the first time Manhart has created controversy. In 2007, she was demoted in the Air Force after she posed nude in Playboy Magazine. “This staff sergeant’s alleged action does not meet the high standards we expect of our airmen, nor does it comply with the Air Force’s core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do,” the Air Force said in a statement at the time. According to an Air Force Times cover story, Manhart wanted to use her Playboy notoriety to launch a modeling career, and she later used the flag to cover herself in a nude photo-shoot for PETA — itself a disrespectful use of the flag, in our estimation. Yet even if she wasn’t the best messenger, Manhart’s intent in the Valdosta incident was honorable and any veteran who sacrificed so much to defend the flag would agree. More…

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