Student-led flag bill gets second life


Viera High School senior Army instructor Lt. Col. Tim Thomas, retired, with fellow speakers USAF Lt. Gen. Bill Welser, retired, and Army Col. Ben Abramowitz, retired, told attendees at the Nov. 14 Veterans Salute at the King Center that students need their support of their legislation to assure local and state governments purchase U.S. flags made in America from U.S.-made materials.Support from the community is the needed ingredient for a student-led state legislation campaign to ensure that American flags purchased by local and state governments are made in America from U.S. made materials.

This was the call to action given by Viera High School JROTC senior Army instructor Lt. Col. Tim Thomas, retired, at the Nov. 14 Veterans Salute at the King Center that opened the Senior Life Boomer Bash & Senior expo. He hoped to get veterans and active military to back the cause. 

“We’ll start knocking on doors as it gets closer to the February or March (2015) time frame of the (Florida) legislative session when this is expected to come up for a vote, hopefully get a busload of us to go up to Tallahassee to help our representatives reach out to their peers,” Thomas said. 

He oversaw a student-coordinated Support the American Flag 5K run and rally Oct. 4 at the VHS stadium with guest speakers Sheriff Wayne Ivey and Army Maj. Gen. John Cleland, retired, at which Florida Rep. Ritch Workman pledged to champion the bill. Workman said he will re-file the bill, which did not make it to a vote last year.

The campaign was launched last year by students from VHS and Eau Gallie High School students, led by VHS faculty advisor Matt Susin, who has since left to work in the private sector.

“When students discovered the government spends $4 million a year on U.S. flags made in China, a Communist nation that detests the very freedom our flag represents, we said this has to stop,” Thomas said.

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