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Vet leads charge to expel flag flippers

first_imgPICO RIVERA – For Vietnam veteran Ray Ramirez, the American flag is a sacred symbol. “I have fought for the flag and seen it draped over people’s coffins,” said the 60-year-old Whittier resident, who experienced intense combat as an Army infantryman in Vietnam. “To me, the American flag will always be a symbol of our country and our greatness,” he said. So when Ramirez saw a photograph in this newspaper of high school students flying the American flag upside down in front of Montebello High School – an image picked up and republished across the Internet – he could not just “sit quietly,” he said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventRamirez has circulated fliers asking fellow veterans to attend tonight’s meeting of the El Rancho Unified School District school board. He said he will demand officials expel the students who flipped the flag upside down and raised a Mexican flag above it during school walkouts March 27. He also wants the district to sanction administrators for not stepping in to stop it. “The students involved in this brought shame on this great country, our cities and schools,” Ramirez said. The photo, which later appeared in other newspapers, on TV, and on Web sites, stirred widespread anger. It had generated more than 75,000 hits on this newspaper’s Web site as of Wednesday. Internet blogger Michelle Malkin featured it in her online piece, “The American Flag Comes Second,” which carried angry comments from e-mailers. Daily News reporters also were on the receiving end of negative e-mails. “Students are young and lack judgment, but such an action is alarming, outrageous and disgusting,” one e-mailer wrote. “What was the deal flying the Mexican flag over the U.S. flag?” wrote another. “Apparently these people have no respect for the U.S.” El Rancho school district officials said the photo helped identify a student they believe was largely responsible. The boy has been disciplined, although officials have declined to say in what way. Officials said the boy also wrote a letter apologizing to Montebello school officials and students. Richard Briones, a past president of the Pico Rivera Veterans Council, said he and other local veterans will join Ramirez at tonight’s board meeting. “I will stress to the school board that there needs to be more classes on what a flag means to a country,” he said. Latino activists fighting a federal proposal that would criminalize an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants also distanced themselves from the incident, saying it tainted their cause. “It’s a good cause to want millions of people to be documented, but students need to be more careful and responsible in their actions,” said Randy Jurado Ertll, executive director of El Centro De Accion Social in Pasadena. “Otherwise people who may otherwise support our cause will get offended and turned off.” Martin Castro of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation praised students for peacefully walking out of classes last month, but said the flag incident “should not have occurred.” “It damages what they are trying to accomplish and only puts more fear in the community,” he said. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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