VALLEY FALLS — The young man was given three choices: get turned over to the police, go one-on-one in a fight with a seasoned war veteran, or be duct-taped to a flagpole for six hours with a sign around his neck identifying his alleged crime: flag burning.


It was the third option that would still have the small town buzzing a week after a 21-year-old was hunted down and forced to endure a public humiliation with its roots dating to the Middle Ages. Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1938 were incensed enough to tie up the man last Sunday after they accused him of setting the flag in front of their building on fire.

Post Commander Nick Normile, a Vietnam War veteran, said the man came into the post's bar Sept. 18 on Poplar Avenue and was eventually turned away for not having a proper ID.

Apparently angered, the young man, who Normile did not want to name, cut the rope of the American flag flying overhead and used a cigarette lighter to set it on fire, Normile and others said.

The man sat pilloried as the village had its fall youth soccer picnic with a long parade of children passing in front of him.

"He'll never disrespect the flag again, I can tell you that," Normile said.

Normile said the flag had at one point flown over U.S. troops in Iraq had special significance.

Veterans, both local and nationwide, responded to the event as accountings were posted online to the official VFW Facebook page and national Web site. Comments posted supported the act and added ideas for further punishment.

Other nearby business owners said they knew of the event but refused to give an accounting. Unconfirmed reports by citizens said the alleged flag-burner was a relative of a previous commander of the post.

Calls made to the alleged flag burner and a spokesman for the national VFW organization for comments were not returned. The Rensselaer County Sheriffs office confirmed knowledge of the event, but said they were not involved. State Police in Brunswick were contacted, but a trooper said no record of the event could be found.

The flag will be disposed of at a formal ceremony, Normile said.

Original story here:


  1. So the first amendment, the most important one, guarantees freedom of speech. Soldiers have fought, bled, and died for this amendment.
    Some jerk exercises his first amendment right to free speech, gets beat to crap by a bunch of vigilantes and that is somehow good?
    I am confused.
    I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it

  2. Escobar, it wasn’t his flag. It belonged to others and had flown in Iraq. Please read the article first–I would agree if the man had burned his own flag on his own property.

  3. The first amendement has been stretched to the breaking point.When someone thinks it gives them the right to trespass and destroy private property it is time to make examples of them.Being a vet and having a family member serve in every conflict and war it burns my ass to have the first amendment used as an excuse for stupidity.This piece of shiite is getting of easy.

  4. In my opinion, most certifications (i.e. Microsoft, A+, etc.) are useless pieces of paper that, at most, show somebody spent some time scanning through books or sample tests and can regurgitate answers to questions that might appear on a “certification” exam.
    Hands-on industry experience is far more valuable and useful in the real world. It proves (1) that you indeed possess sufficient knowledge of a given topic/technology, and, (2) if you are confronted with a problem or situation in which you lack expertise, you are resourceful enough to obtain (whether it be via colleagues, reading manuals, conducting web research, calling vendor support, etc.) the information necessary to arrive at an effective solution.

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  6. I agree that burning an American flag is free speech and the government should protect it. However, I would personally beat the shit out of anyone I saw doing it. This kid got off light.

  7. I am not one of those that think the act of burning an American flag should be illegal. Yes I do find it highly disrespectful and unpatriotic, but I believe people have the right to do it (free speech).

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