Gardnerville soldier due back home from Iraq soon

Gardnerville Ranchos resident Donna Kemp's son-in-law, Sgt. Alan Ripper, is due home from Iraq in the near future. The sergeant is married to Dawn Kemp Ripper, who served in the U.S. Navy 2000-2006 as a corpsman, including some time at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. The couple met in Washington and have a daughter, Kylie.

"She's had to give up both her parents to the service of their country at different times," Donna said.

If you had to pick a day to have a ratty flag flying in front of your house, Veterans Day wasn't it.

Gardnerville Ranchos resident Marge Miller said her neighbor's flag was a mess.

"They moved out a week ago," she said. "There's nobody there and it's been flying out there 24/7. I feel for the people in the service, and then I have to look at this flag."

Marge says her grandson has to walk by the house and that it affects him, too.

"I respect the flag," she said. "You need to fly it right. It breaks my heart how they've treated it."

Just so everyone knows, here are the standards for flying a flag, thanks to

The Flag Code, which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag, also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used. They are:

- The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.

- The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.

- The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard.

- The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.

- 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 never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

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 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.

- Kurt Hildebrand is editor of The Record-Courier. Reach him at and 782-5121, ext. 215.


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