A good opportunity was missed recently when a video of a teenage employee of Indiana Smokehouse improperly handling the American flag after lowering it was posted to social media. What could have been an instructive teaching moment instead served only to scold and embarrass.
Instead of recording the video, the witness could have helped the employee get it right or contacted the store owner directly. That would have accomplished the same purpose without casting the restaurant in a potentially bad light and embarrassing the teenager, who knew no better and made an honest mistake.
While knowing the right way to raise, lower, hold, fold and care for the American flag are good skills to know because they show respect, it’s doubtful that many people actually know proper flag etiquette.
After the video was posted, the restaurant owner hired a former Marine to teach his staff about proper flag etiquette so the mistake wouldn’t be repeated. We commend him for owning the situation making something positive out of it.
Social media has benefits in that it allows the spread of information quickly and helps to easily connect people who are not in close geographic proximity.
However, social media also brings with it many negatives, including when people use it for “gotcha” purposes intended to embarrass others.
In this technological age where anyone can share any thought they have instantly, the recent incident is another reminder to pause and take a second to consider the implications before posting something for many to see.