Forum: Email sets off flag debate on Marco Island

— On Monday, Dave Rice set off a firestorm of email responses after he sent out a photograph showing U.S. flags piled up on the ground, presumably removed so that landscapers could navigate the medians.

Responses came fast and furious on both sides of the issue. With Rice’s permission, the Eagle has decided to publish his original email and photo, along with a response from the company at the center of the debate.

Readers are welcome to join the discussion online at marconews.com, or submit a letter to the editor to mail@marcoeagle.com.

Original email

On this Memorial Day morning, I noticed the crews of Affordable Landscape Company mowing the medians and removing and piling on the ground our beloved American flag. It was one thing to see them moving the flags, but, quite another to view their total disrespect to America. Below is one pile (see photo).

I sincerely hope something is done to alert our City Council, VFW, and media to make an example of this disrespect so that it does not go unnoticed so it will put those who would do such a thing on notice as it will not be tolerated.

Regards.

Dave Rice, Sr.

Marco Island

Affordable Landscaping responds

I am writing this letter in response to the e-mail that Mr. Dave Rice, Sr. sent out to various media outlets and community leaders in Collier County and the City of Marco Island.

On Monday, I received a call from an irate resident who didn’t identify himself. He accused my employees and my company of disgracing the American flag. He then proceeded to tell me that he had taken a picture of the flags they had piled up and that he was going to send it to the media.

I tried to explain to him that my employees didn’t intend to disrespect the American flag in any way and that they were just removing them so they didn’t get damaged by the mowers and they would be put back in place as soon as they were done mowing each section. He started screaming and among other things he screamed, “You people don’t have any respect for the American flag or this country.”

I just want say that people like me and my employees are hard working people that are proud to be part of this great nation. I also want to remind the caller that Americans come from all different backgrounds and mine happens to be Hispanic. I am an American citizen and a veteran of the first Gulf War. I proudly served in the United States Air Force and was willing to die for this country.

Things could have been handled differently Mr. Rice, but you decided on trying to ruin my company’s reputation and our patriotism. My husband, my employees and I are proud to be part of this great nation that has given us so much. The support of the Marco Island community has been absolutely wonderful and I want to take this opportunity to thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

Sincerely,

Yvette Benarroch

Affordable Landscaping Service & Design, LLC

Marco Island

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Comments » 32

happy6 writes:

so why didn't ol dave pick up the flags? i saw one that was laying on the ground...stopped in the middle of the road and stuck it back in the ground....calm down dave...i doubt any disrespect was intentional.

laslic writes:

typical of a marco island old f art! rather than doing something constructive and picking them up, he goes around complaining to everyone. he also took pics of the flags in place in the mulch, no mention about those.

ajm3s writes:

It is apparent to me who the great American is in this story.

Thank you, Ms. Benarroch for representing the great things in America and noting that things could have been handled differently.

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

One disgruntaled and jealous lawn monkey sounding off against another.
Speaking of lawn monkeys...has anyone seen the city managers new lights?
It seems as though, that Quagmires personal vehicle with the special (let everyone know who I am) vanity plates has just had emergency lights installed.
These lights were installed at the city garage and were paid for at taxpayers expense.
The price tag..around $3000.
Also, it seems like Quagmire wants to buy a new boat, so that Code Enforcement can hire (2) two people to ride around all the canals to do seawall inspections and special code enforcement.

mymax101 writes:

Dave Rice has a right to his free speech. The American flag should not be allowed to touch the ground. Those flags being left on the ground was disrespectful. Yvette should have simply apologized and moved on rather than go into a diatribe about her ethnicity. This has nothing to do with her Hispanic heritage. Her workers should not have put the flags on the ground, even for two seconds.

epdoc74 writes:

Yvette, I felt compelled to comment after reading your response in the Marco Eagle. When the Sun Times came out and the picture of the flags in the median was displayed on the front page, I immediately felt this was an over the top response from Dave Rice. After reading your response, I felt outrage at Mr. Rice for having such a violent reaction for the flags being placed on the ground (while the mowers were trying to do THEIR job). I am sorry this had to be plastered in both papers, because this is such a display of human reactions getting out of control. I personally have watched your workers do an excellent job and they DO show a good work ethic. I am not sure what Mr. Rice wanted your employees to do with the flags. Thank you for serving our country, you have a great company, and I hope no negative repercussions happen because of this ridiculous event.

RayPray writes:

Recent research demonstrates that even a modest gridiron career can lead to lifelong brain dame.

http://m.si.com/news/hs_sp/to_hs_spor...

40dawg writes:

Mr. Rice has joined the ranks of Klabberzili and Rayless-beings who have no life and enjoy whining about everything. WAAAAAAH!

Islandguyalso writes:

What is wrong with you people. The flag, and Yvette if you were in the Air Force you should know, never should touch the ground and if it is it is to be burned. I know that is extreme but all the workers had to do was stick them in the ground while mowing and then move them back. It does show disrespect probably unitentional but still disrespect for the flag. If Mr Rice did not do as he did or if he collected the flags this company would not have learned a thing.I promise you if you saw this in a middle east country you would be livid. Don't attack Mr Rice for pointing out ignorance about the flag.And Yevette your appoligy looks a lot like an attack maybe you should educate you workers on things like this and not go after the guy who pointed it out. Since you think being in the Air Force is a valid point I'll bet you were never in combat if you were you would have appoligized and taken this up with your crew. By the way if you want to compare patriotism by service I have a CIB and a Purple Heart so please listen about the flag.

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

in response to RayPray:

Recent research demonstrates that even a modest gridiron career can lead to lifelong brain dame.

http://m.si.com/news/hs_sp/to_hs_spor...

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

zayalj writes:

in response to Islandguyalso:

What is wrong with you people. The flag, and Yvette if you were in the Air Force you should know, never should touch the ground and if it is it is to be burned. I know that is extreme but all the workers had to do was stick them in the ground while mowing and then move them back. It does show disrespect probably unitentional but still disrespect for the flag. If Mr Rice did not do as he did or if he collected the flags this company would not have learned a thing.I promise you if you saw this in a middle east country you would be livid. Don't attack Mr Rice for pointing out ignorance about the flag.And Yevette your appoligy looks a lot like an attack maybe you should educate you workers on things like this and not go after the guy who pointed it out. Since you think being in the Air Force is a valid point I'll bet you were never in combat if you were you would have appoligized and taken this up with your crew. By the way if you want to compare patriotism by service I have a CIB and a Purple Heart so please listen about the flag.

I thank you for your service and commend you for it. I just wanted to let you konw that I did apologize to Mr. Rice when he called me and the problem was corrected right away. It has never been my intention to compare my patriotism with anyone. People should be treated with respect even if they are in disagreement. All men and women in the military deserve respect not only the ones that went to combat. God Bless you!

zayalj writes:

in response to mymax101:

Dave Rice has a right to his free speech. The American flag should not be allowed to touch the ground. Those flags being left on the ground was disrespectful. Yvette should have simply apologized and moved on rather than go into a diatribe about her ethnicity. This has nothing to do with her Hispanic heritage. Her workers should not have put the flags on the ground, even for two seconds.

Thank you for your comment. I did apologized, corrected the problem and moved on. Our intention has never been to offend anyone. We all deserve respect, even if we are in disagreement. I didn't make this about my hispanic heritage, he did. Every one has the right to free speech but we should do it with respect, don't you think?

ajm3s writes:

in response to Islandguyalso:

What is wrong with you people. The flag, and Yvette if you were in the Air Force you should know, never should touch the ground and if it is it is to be burned. I know that is extreme but all the workers had to do was stick them in the ground while mowing and then move them back. It does show disrespect probably unitentional but still disrespect for the flag. If Mr Rice did not do as he did or if he collected the flags this company would not have learned a thing.I promise you if you saw this in a middle east country you would be livid. Don't attack Mr Rice for pointing out ignorance about the flag.And Yevette your appoligy looks a lot like an attack maybe you should educate you workers on things like this and not go after the guy who pointed it out. Since you think being in the Air Force is a valid point I'll bet you were never in combat if you were you would have appoligized and taken this up with your crew. By the way if you want to compare patriotism by service I have a CIB and a Purple Heart so please listen about the flag.

To all Veterans, who served with honors, if you see a flag on the ground do you send an email complaining of such or do you quietly re-secure the flag and inform others as to why?

The true veteran knows to bemoan is not in keeping with honorable service to this country, especially to bemoan lawn maintenance folks who may have not served this country, but nonetheless enjoy the freedoms protected by our veterans and current military personnel.

The fact that a veteran. if Mr. Rice is such, is complaining about those he served to protect, is somewhat short of the mark.

I guess there are Veterans that have served and then there are veterans that wish to be served.

captnjimbo writes:

Must have been a slow day in the news room.

marconed writes:

I dont know either individual but I am aware of their companies. Mr. Rice advertizes as a landscape Contractor. Does he indeed have a designated license for this?I may have been misinformed by a city employee,just asking

RayPray writes:

in response to zayalj:

I thank you for your service and commend you for it. I just wanted to let you konw that I did apologize to Mr. Rice when he called me and the problem was corrected right away. It has never been my intention to compare my patriotism with anyone. People should be treated with respect even if they are in disagreement. All men and women in the military deserve respect not only the ones that went to combat. God Bless you!

"All men and women in the military deserve respect not only the ones that went to combat."

Sorry, only those who distinguished themselves in combat are true vets, deserving accolade.

The rest are just government workers with costly benefits who have evolved into a pack of decrepit blowhards....

It's like the difference between being a fireman in a real city with perilous blazes every day and being a fireman on Marco Island, where the main duty is free hotdog community outreach....

ed34145 writes:

In the interest of full disclosure, this paper should have disclosed that Dave Rice owns a competing lawn service company. There was no need to make this a full blown media event, but what else would you expect from him?

LadueVGilleo writes:

1. Klabautermoron/MarcoIslandWombat = Internet Troll!

LadueVGilleo writes:

"Trolls are sad people, living their lonely lives vicariously through those they see as strong and successful.

Disrupting a stable newsgroup gives the illusion of power, just as for a few, stalking a strong person allows them to think they are strong, too.

For trolls, any response is 'recognition'; they are unable to distinguish between irritation and admiration; their ego grows directly in proportion to the response, regardless of the form or content of that response.

Trolls, rather surprisingly, dispute this, claiming that it's a game or joke; this merely confirms the diagnosis; how sad do you have to be to find such mind-numbingly trivial timewasting to be funny?

Remember that trolls are cowards; they'll usually post just enough to get an argument going, then sit back and count the responses (Yes, that's what they do!)."

Klabautermoron/MarcoIslandWomoron = Internet Troll!

LadueVGilleo writes:

MarcoIslandWomoron

You're boring.

u2cane writes:

in response to zayalj:

I thank you for your service and commend you for it. I just wanted to let you konw that I did apologize to Mr. Rice when he called me and the problem was corrected right away. It has never been my intention to compare my patriotism with anyone. People should be treated with respect even if they are in disagreement. All men and women in the military deserve respect not only the ones that went to combat. God Bless you!

Amen. I don't think that this was a deliberate act and it was her company, not herself personally that did this.

LadueVGilleo writes:

MarcoIslandWomoron

What is there to argue about? You are unable to write anything relevant.

LadueVGilleo writes:

MarcoIslandWomoron

I feel sorry for your dog

LadueVGilleo writes:

MarcoIslandWomoron

I'm sure you could recommend several shrinks; anyone who reads your comments will believe that when you're not being a troll on this website you're in some shrinks couch trying to get help.

Islandguyalso writes:

in response to zayalj:

I thank you for your service and commend you for it. I just wanted to let you konw that I did apologize to Mr. Rice when he called me and the problem was corrected right away. It has never been my intention to compare my patriotism with anyone. People should be treated with respect even if they are in disagreement. All men and women in the military deserve respect not only the ones that went to combat. God Bless you!

Have you ever noticed that every time you appologize you end with an attack at the person you appoligize to. Maybe you should have just picked up the flags instructed your workers on the proper procedure and let it drop.

marco826 writes:

Some people living on Marco think this Island belongs exclusively to them. Rather than live and let live, they engage themselves in every silly battle or dispute anywhere on the Island. These are people with NOTHING to do. Typically in their arrogance, they think they know better than anyone else. They are so sure and they despise anyone who doesn't agree with them. They generally are angry too. Of course they are angry. Deep down they know their lives are hollow with nothing to do.
Mr Rice had no reason to post photos of small flags positioned for lawn maintenance. if in fact he is a competing business man, that makes it worse. Grow up Mr Rice. Go home, hug your wife, call your kids. Take a boat ride. Mind your own business.

marco826 writes:

in response to mymax101:

Dave Rice has a right to his free speech. The American flag should not be allowed to touch the ground. Those flags being left on the ground was disrespectful. Yvette should have simply apologized and moved on rather than go into a diatribe about her ethnicity. This has nothing to do with her Hispanic heritage. Her workers should not have put the flags on the ground, even for two seconds.

Silly. These are stick flags. Look how they are stacked in stores. Visit the warehouse where they are made, probably in China on factory floors. A full blown flag should be handled with care of course but again, these are stick flags people! The rule against flags touching the ground is meant for flags that are LOWERED, not 6" stick flags. Common sense!

ajm3s writes:

in response to marco826:

Silly. These are stick flags. Look how they are stacked in stores. Visit the warehouse where they are made, probably in China on factory floors. A full blown flag should be handled with care of course but again, these are stick flags people! The rule against flags touching the ground is meant for flags that are LOWERED, not 6" stick flags. Common sense!

Kudos marco826, quite a practical patriot rebuttal with a fitting ending remark....Common Sense!

marco826 writes:

The BIGGEST QUESTION of all is SIMPLE. Where were these workers supposed to put all these flags after collecting them to cut the lawn? Please, someone, anyone, answer this question. Much ado about nothing!

Islandguyalso writes:

in response to marco826:

The BIGGEST QUESTION of all is SIMPLE. Where were these workers supposed to put all these flags after collecting them to cut the lawn? Please, someone, anyone, answer this question. Much ado about nothing!

Stick them standing up in the ground they ended up laying on. Is that so tough. It is silly but laying them on the ground disrespect( unintended but still not caring about the flag) Sticking them in the ground respect purposeful. It is a small issue but that doesn't change the facts

Islandguyalso writes:

in response to marco826:

Silly. These are stick flags. Look how they are stacked in stores. Visit the warehouse where they are made, probably in China on factory floors. A full blown flag should be handled with care of course but again, these are stick flags people! The rule against flags touching the ground is meant for flags that are LOWERED, not 6" stick flags. Common sense!

great you have the same respect for the symbol of freedom as the chinees

Islandguyalso writes:

I think all of us made the mountain out of rice's mole hill

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