North Carolina Marine veteran Allen Thornwell, who fought to defend the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, says he was pink-slipped for lowering his employer’s American flag to half-staff on Memorial Day, The Charlotte Observer reports.
He is demanding an apology from Time Warner Cable for him and fellow veterans, notes the report.
The company fired the American warrior on January 2nd, reportedly saying it was disturbed by his “passion for the flag and (his) political affiliation,” the Observer learned from a manager at Principal Solutions Group, the technology-based employment service through which Thornwell got the job.
Last week, Thornwell indicated to the Observer that “he did not think to ask permission or consider the possibility that he had done anything wrong.”
“Instead, the 29-year-old former Marine, who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, says he was thinking about his country, the meaning of the holiday and his best friend, Geoff, another Marine who killed himself two years ago after returning stateside,” explains the newspaper.
The veteran expressed his outrage over the dismissal decision on Facebook, posting a brief video he shot with his phone at the scene of the incident — . He titled the Facebook post “So many years wasted. I’m telling you … PEOPLE DON’T GIVE A F***.”
“Only a few minutes after he had lowered it — the flag was back at full-staff,” reports the Charlotte newspaper, later adding, “Thornwell said he reacted angrily at what he took as a sign of disrespect to him and other vets.”
The U.S. vet can be heard cursing twice during the short video he posted on Facebook.
“This is what the people back home think about us,” is the message that Thornwell said he wanted to send to military personnel across the world.
The Marine veteran reportedly said he was “never disrespectful or out of control” when dealing with Time Warner Cable.
In fact, he claimed that a security guard told him, “I fought. I understand,” as he escorted him out.
“Whether Time Warner Cable was improperly displaying the flag during the country’s annual tribute to its dead veterans is a matter of debate,” notes The Charlotte Observer. “The U.S. Flag Code, which offers guidance on how to fly the flag during holidays, says the banner should be at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day then returned to its normal position.”
Thorwell, who was discharged from the military in 2014, reportedly said the incident occurred well past noon, at around 2:30 p.m., noting that “he was aware of the holiday protocol but was moved to lower the flag anyway,” adds the news outlet. “He wishes now that he had asked permission.”
Nevertheless, the veteran also said that he remained flabbergasted by the dismissal decision.
“I’m not even mad right now,” he told the Observer. “I don’t know what kind of moral compass you need to fire a veteran on Memorial Day for lowering the flag.”
“I didn’t think of it as the property of Time Warner Cable,” he also said. “It’s everybody’s flag.”
Last Friday, a spokesman for Time Warner Cable, without elaborating further, confirmed that the former Marine’s six-month contract with the company had been terminated.
Murph Archibald, a Charlotte-based attorney and Vietnam veteran representing Thornwell, told the Observer, “It’s disgraceful. He didn’t do anything wrong. He’s a veteran working on Memorial Day who corrected what he thought was a disrespectful flying of the American flag… I would have taken it down myself.”