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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Dave Rice, Sr.
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.
Affordable Landscaping Service & Design, LLC