A school custodian was fired from his job at the Fort Pierre school yesterday.
He says it's because of a photo he posted on Facebook.
Air Force veteran Ceasar Zahaki says he found the American flag crumpled up in a ball nearly every day in his two months working at the school auditorium.
Zakahi says the Facebook post was his final effort to move the school district to action after voicing his concerns to administration made little impact.
After losing his job and even having his own flag stolen off his front porch, Zakahi says he would gladly do it all over again. "The flag is a big thing to us, to me, to any vet that's served our country. You were taught to fight for that, you were taught to believe in that."
It's why he worked to make sure the flag was given it's proper respect. "The flag represents the United States as far as I'm concerned, as far as anyone's concerned, it's the symbol of our country."
A veteran himself, Stanley County's superintendent says Zahaki was fired for personnel reasons only - and whoever left the schools flag in this disheveled condition should be ashamed.
"It's just impossible to think of anyone who could do this and just disregard this like it's nothing." Zahaki may no longer have a say in how the school cares for its flags, but he can lead by example with his new flag..replacing the one stolen from his home. "That's the way I was taught in the boys scouts, that's the way I was taught in the Air Force...to me the greatest achievement in my life was serving in the Air Force. I served in the military, I have friends that died serving in Iraq, I had relatives that died serving in Desert Storm, to see the flag and the South Dakota flag being disrespected in that manner, it just caused a lot of anger."
The schools' superintendent says the school district's three flags are taken down each evening after school and are supposed to be neatly folded and placed on a shelf. We spoke with the South Dakota National Guard...they say the triangle fold is not necessary, a neat, rectangular fold is fine. However, the National Guard said rolling the flag up in a ball is highly against protocol.
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Some organizations in the Dakotas are canceling holiday events as bitter cold settles over the region.More >>
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