Monday, June 20, 2016

Air Force Has 33 Year Veteran Forcibly Removed From Retirement Ceremony For Using Word “God”

From Breitbart (which is so impossible for my computer to navigate - because of all it's advertising - that I can't even post a fucking link):
When a veteran started offering traditional remarks at a military flag-folding ceremony, several uniformed airmen assaulted him, dragging him out of the room because his remarks mentioned God. Now First Liberty Institute lawyers representing retired Senior Master Sergeant Oscar Rodriguez are demanding that the U.S. Air Force apologize and punish those responsible or face a federal civil-rights lawsuit. 
For countless years, service members have given the “flag-folding speech” at military and civic events, including retirement ceremonies. Traditionally, this speech explains the colors, symbols, and history of the flag. 
The flag-folding speech also contains several religious references, including, “Let us pray that God will reflect with admiration the willingness of one nation in her attempts to rid the world of tyranny, oppression, and misery. It is this one nation under God that we call, with honor, the United States of America.” The speech closes with, “God bless our flag. God bless our troops. God bless America.” 
In 2005, the Pentagon changed the speech to remove all references to the divine, substituting additional historical facts such as Neil Armstrong’s planting of an American flag on the moon in 1969. But many service members prefer the traditional speech and desire that version given at their own retirement celebrations. 
Rodriguez retired from the Air Force in 2013 after 33 years of service to his nation. He has a clear and distinctive voice and is frequently asked to deliver the flag-folding speech at retirement ceremonies. 
On April 3, 2016, Master Sergeant Charles Roberson was retiring from active duty. Roberson had heard Rodriguez give his stirring rendition of the traditional flag-folding speech and asked Rodriguez if he would give that speech at Roberson’s retirement celebration at Travis Air Force Base where Roberson served in the 749th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. 
According to a demand letter sent by First Liberty Institute on Monday, when the squadron’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Sovitsky, learned that Rodriguez would give the traditional speech mentioning God, he expressed his opposition and allegedly tried to block it. 
As Roberson explained in a video interview seen for the first time on Breitbart News, Roberson asked Rodriguez to press forward. 
When the event went forward as planned, another video first obtained by Breitbart News — the one of the retirement ceremony itself — shows Rodriguez taking his position and beginning his flag-folding speech. Four uniformed airmen surround him, forcibly seize him, and roughly drag him out of the room, as he continues shouting out his speech over the heads of his assailants.


Anonymous said...

How common is it to video tape the flag-folding ceremony at retirement recognition events? The video represents one videographer, but there is at least one other uniformed soldier using his smart phone visible recording the fracas. Roberson is neither identified or assumed present in this video since no-one stood to defend Rodriguez. This makes one wonder if this was a set up.

Pastorius said...

Not a set up, I don't think.

I think the CO had heard that he would say the Traditional one, and warned him not to, and then warned his soldiers that he didn't think Rodriguez would comply, and if he didn't to arrest him.

That is the implication of the Breitbart story, IN MY OPINION.

thelastenglishprince said...

This is just me - and I have attended several beautiful Navy retirement ceremonies - but if the Commander over the detachment gave him guidance not to use the word God he only had two choices:

comply or decline the invitation to speak

He entered a chain of command. It is about good order and discipline, not personal conviction.

Those of us who have served know that our freedom of expression is constrained. Our freedom is constrained by our oath. I have witnessed officers disciplined for disrespectful tone of voice. Yeah, we can cuss a blue streak but we cannot use a disrespectful tone when addressing our superiors and it is always "Permission to speak, Sir".