Photo by DU photographer
By Kyle Nguyen
At the Abraham O. Smooth building, ROTC cadets lower the flag down while the national anthem plays. Some BYU students stop and put their hand on their heart while others continue with their life and walk away.
A similar scene appears when the flag is raised every morning. As Veteran’s Day approaches, the BYU Air Force ROTC is running a public relations campaign with the help of the Army ROTC to educate and to remind students to respect the U.S. flag.
“[When the cadets raise or lower the flag] some people stop and pay proper respect, some people don’t,” Lieutenant Colonel Marc Boberg said. “So [the campaign] is intended to help educate folks.”
Boberg said in the evening it’s obvious students do not recognize the national anthem and do not know what is going on. This campaign was designed as a friendly and educational reminder.
“It’s not intended to be a mean thing or accusatory thing that you don’t love the country because you don’t love the flag,” Boberg said.
Students in this generation have to deal with many distractions such as school work, tests and their social life; therefore, it’s harder for them to recognize things happening around them, Boberg said.
“I don’t know if people are trying to be disrespectful,” he said. “But they don’t recognize or realize what is going on and it is disrespectful.”
David Jungheim, a BYU ROTC senior military science instructor, immigrated to America with his family from Germany when he was nine. He said it’s a common courtesy not only American students but also international students do to respect the flag.
“The flag itself is just a piece of cloth,” Jungheim said. “But what the flag represents is what’s important.”
Major Richard Baird, ROTC operations officer, said students should think about how many people have fought and died in wars for the freedom and life that American enjoy.
“I feel like we need to remember people like that who gave their life to try and make something better for somebody else,” Baird said. “And so this is the respect I feel that we owe for our flag, because it’s the respect for our country, for our history and for our future.”
Baird said this respect is similar to the respect students show whenever the prophet walks into the Marriott Center for Devotional.
“We could say that respect is the sign of love,” he said.
Through this campaign, the ROTC hopes students will understand the proper way to respect the flag — to stop what they are doing, stand silently with their hands over their heart and face the flag until it is completely lowered or raised. More information about proper flag etiquette can be found on flyers available in the Wilkinson Student Center every day this week.