A local businessman has apologized and invited a Marine to teach his staff about flag etiquette after a video was posted online of an employee improperly taking down a U.S. flag.

Indiana Smokehouse owner Matt Gatesy usually raises and lowers the 10-foot flag at his business every day in a respectful manner, he said Thursday.

But on Wednesday, a dishwasher at the restaurant went out to lower the flag while Gatesy was washing dishes inside.

Someone in a nearby restaurant videotaped the teenager allowing the flag to touch the ground and then being wadded up in the teen’s arms before being carried inside.

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The video has been circulating on social media, and Gatesy said the matter has caused him to lose sleep since it occurred.

Gatesy, 26, reached out to several mentors and friends for advice on how best to handle the incident.

“I don’t want people to think that this represents the morals of our company,” Gatesy said.

Gatesy has asked former Marine Harrison Haeberle to teach the Indiana Smokehouse staff how to properly raise, lower and fold the flag. Haeberle is meeting with the employees at 9 p.m. today at the restaurant, 2825 Middle Road.

Gatesy already has discussed the matter with his employee who improperly lowered the flag.

The restaurant has issued an invitation on social media saying anyone from the community who would also like to attend tonight’s session is welcome.

Flag etiquette

The Flag Code has specific instructions about how flags are to be used and how to raise and lower it properly.

  • When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.
  • The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.
  • The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.
  • The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
  • When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.

— Information from USFlag.org

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.