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Police Departments Pull Honor Guard from Funeral because of Confederate Flag
The Bryan-College Station Eagle ^ | 12 January 2007 | Laura Hensley

Posted on 01/23/2007 5:21:20 AM PST by Rebeleye

Family members of a former Brazos County sheriff said Thursday that a Confederate flag displayed at his funeral was not intended to be offensive.

The flag prompted the Bryan and College Station police departments to pull officers from honor guard duty before Wednesday's funeral for Bobby Yeager.

Members of his family said Yeager, who served as Brazos County sheriff from 1978 to 1984 and was a former detective for the College Station department, asked before his death to have the flag displayed at his funeral.

(Excerpt) Read more at theeagle.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: bryan; cbf; collegestation; confederate; crossofsaintandrew; damnyankees; saintandrewscross; texas
Family members of a former Brazos County sheriff said Thursday that a Confederate flag displayed at his funeral was not intended to be offensive.

The flag prompted the Bryan and College Station police departments to pull officers from honor guard duty before Wednesday's funeral for Bobby Yeager.

Members of his family said Yeager, who served as Brazos County sheriff from 1978 to 1984 and was a former detective for the College Station department, asked before his death to have the flag displayed at his funeral. They said the display - a small flag placed beneath a floral arrangement - was in honor of Yeager's Southern heritage and his affinity for Civil War history.

The flag has been used as a symbol of Southern pride but also is used by white supremacist groups and is associated with a time in American history when slavery and segregation were condoned.

"It was not the intentions of the family to offend anyone," said Mike Donohoe, Yeager's son-in-law and chief of the Bryan Fire Department. "We were trying to honor his wishes."

But after College Station Police Department administrators became aware of the flag Wednesday, officials decided to remove officers from the honor guard - an assembly of law enforcement officials typically used to honor fallen officers during funeral services. The Bryan Police Department followed suit, leaving law enforcement officers from the Brazos County Sheriff's Department to carry out honor guard duties during the funeral service.

Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk said he was surprised by the display and realized that there would be some people who would consider it controversial, but he decided honoring his former boss was more important. Sheriff's officials remained standing guard at Yeager's casket during visitation and funeral services.

"I decided it was appropriate to honor Bobby Yeager for his service to Brazos County," Kirk said in a written statement. "I acquiesced to the family and respected their right to honor their loved one's final requests."

Kirk said the 2-foot-long banner that covered only a portion of the casket should not be a negative reflection on Yeager's character.

"I have never known [Yeager] to be prejudiced in any way," he said. "I've always known him to treat all people fairly and ethically. I've also known [Yeager] to be a man of his word, a man who spoke frankly and never worried about being politically correct."

College Station Assistant police Chief Scott McCollum said the decision to pull officers from the honor guard was a difficult one, but something he believed was necessary.

"That symbol has negative connotations," McCollum said. "As public officials and public servants, we serve a diverse population, and we want to poise ourselves in the best light. We need to be objective."

Donohoe said Yeager's family would have removed the flag if anyone had suggested it was offensive, but no one did. Donohoe said the family apologized to the Bryan and College Station police departments Thursday.

Both Donohoe and McCollum said they never intended to draw media attention.

"We by no means meant for this to get this much notoriety, and our intention was never to take away from the family, but we had the general public to be concerned about as well," McCollum said. "We recognize and applaud [Yeager's] service to the county, but based on the situation ... we had to consider the people."

Joseph G. Dawson III, a professor of history at Texas A&M University who specializes in American military history and the Civil War, said the Confederate battle flag has long been used in the South to honor the dead. But the flag's negative connotations - re-emphasized during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s - have made it a divisive symbol that carries with it extreme emotions on both sides of the debate.

While some see the flag as a symbol of history and heritage, others see it as a symbol of hatred, he said.

"It's become open to interpretation of who is viewing the flag," Dawson said. "It has become a symbol that has divided Americans instead of bringing them together to discuss history."

He said people on both sides of the issue have the right to display or not display the flag, but anytime it is displayed in public, people should be prepared to draw some criticism.

"For Southerners now to say they are unaware or can't understand why African-Americans are opposed to having the Confederate battle flag flown at public events or being carried by certain groups is, I think, being disingenuous," Dawson said. "It's not asking for it, but it's sure to bring out comments and put people at odds."

1 posted on 01/23/2007 5:21:22 AM PST by Rebeleye
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To: Rebeleye

"That symbol has negative connotations," McCollum said. "As public officials and public servants, we serve a diverse population, and we want to poise ourselves in the best light. We need to be objective."

We can't have a white southerner celebrating his heritage right smack dab in the middle of Black History Two Months.


2 posted on 01/23/2007 5:26:28 AM PST by L98Fiero (A fool who'll waste his life, God rest his guts.)
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To: Rebeleye
" ... African-Americans are opposed to having the Confederate battle flag flown at public events ..."

Why didn't they just say that in the first place? Wonder if any of the Brazos Co. sheriff's deputies on the casket detail are black.

3 posted on 01/23/2007 5:26:45 AM PST by Rte66
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To: Rebeleye

Bryan and College Station police = politically correct weenies. Such a deal.


4 posted on 01/23/2007 5:26:51 AM PST by Lion Den Dan
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To: Rebeleye
The flag prompted the Bryan and College Station police departments to pull officers from honor guard duty before Wednesday's funeral for Bobby Yeager.

No one is more against the Confederate Flag than I am, but this is just silly.

He led an honorable life, let the man be buried in whatever way he wants.

5 posted on 01/23/2007 5:31:07 AM PST by fortheDeclaration (For what saith the scripture? (Rom.4:3))
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To: L98Fiero
It was ok to fly the hispanic flaq when they had their workers holiday in May. which I would have gotten fired for if I did had a boycott. This is serious , it is making me furious that the confederate flag cannot fly but flag from other countries are waved in our face everyday. To Jesse Jackson it would be ok to have Chevez in our face but the confederacy is offensive. What a bunch of baloney.
6 posted on 01/23/2007 5:35:20 AM PST by betsyross1776
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To: Rebeleye
"It's become open to interpretation of who is viewing the flag,"

And thats what is wrong with political correctness......it matterns NONE what you intend, or is in your mind......everything is dependent upon how people perceive it. It DOES NOT MATTER if their perception is WRONG.....their perception trumps the truth.

A society really can't last that long making up truth.
7 posted on 01/23/2007 5:37:15 AM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: Arkinsaw
everything is dependent upon how people perceive it.

More to the point....how they THINK people will perceive it.

8 posted on 01/23/2007 5:43:19 AM PST by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I shall defend to your death my right to say it)
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To: Rebeleye
My mom was a fountain of wise sayings. Regardless of what happened, good or bad, she had a saying. One of her favorites was "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I would like to borrow that from her and with a slight change let it show how I feel about these 'offended' incidents that are turning up everywhere. Offense is in the mind of the beholder. If something offends you, look the other way. Don't give the offender a power over you, the power to offend you, that he can get only if you surrender it.
Ignoring the 'offense' is a win-win situation for the offended. If the offense was on purpose then you've rewarded the offender big time and you can be sure it will be used again. If, OTOH, the offense was unintentional, then you'll never convince the offender of wrong-doing.
I swear there are people who spend their entire lives looking, hoping, to be offended. Of course at the top of this class are the Muslims. They are probably the most offended group in the world. It's nigh impossible to avoid offending them.
9 posted on 01/23/2007 5:44:02 AM PST by jwparkerjr
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To: Rebeleye

I can undersstand why McCollum is the assistant police chief of that little burg, he's to damned stupid to be a chief making asinine comments as he did here. His attitude leaves a lot to be desired an only shows his lack of mental prowess.


10 posted on 01/23/2007 5:47:59 AM PST by geezerwheezer (get up boys, we're burnin' daylight!!!)
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To: Rebeleye
AND this is not offensive?
11 posted on 01/23/2007 5:48:34 AM PST by radar101 (LIBERALS = Hypocrisy and Fantasy)
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To: Rebeleye

This angers me greatly. I plan to have the Stars and Bars on my coffin when I go. I also plan to have an American flag under my arm. American by birth, Southern by the grace of God!


12 posted on 01/23/2007 5:48:40 AM PST by SWEETSUNNYSOUTH
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To: Rebeleye

OH, and by the way, I must have missed the ACLU's press release, saying that they would defend the family's right to free expression.


13 posted on 01/23/2007 5:50:21 AM PST by radar101 (LIBERALS = Hypocrisy and Fantasy)
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To: Rebeleye

Beyond ridiculous.


14 posted on 01/23/2007 5:50:32 AM PST by varina davis
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To: L98Fiero

15 posted on 01/23/2007 5:53:38 AM PST by radar101 (LIBERALS = Hypocrisy and Fantasy)
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To: Rte66
Who would have been at the funeral and been offended? Sheriff Yeager's family and friends? Was this funeral a private matter or was aired on TV in the same way that James Brown's funeral was (BTW, has JB's loving family actually buried him yet?). Any member of an honour guard that found the Confederate flag offensive could have simply opted out. Congratulations to the Brazos County sheriff who thought that the tradition and ceremony were more important than bending over for the PC police.
16 posted on 01/23/2007 5:53:53 AM PST by ishabibble (ALL-AMERICAN INFIDEL)
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To: Rebeleye

So one flag erases a life-time of service and makes everything else he's done dishonorable? Give me a break!


17 posted on 01/23/2007 5:56:15 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: Rebeleye

THAT is inexcusable.... and an incredible sign of disrespect.


18 posted on 01/23/2007 5:58:32 AM PST by PDR
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To: ishabibble

No one - and it wasn't "flying," anyway. I don't think it was televised - it wasn't here, but it might have been up there.

As to James Brown, I don't think he's buried yet - last I heard he had been spirited away from his "climate-controlled" living room by who-knows-who but had not been interred in his gravesite, so no one knows where he is!


19 posted on 01/23/2007 6:16:55 AM PST by Rte66
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To: Rte66
I think it was a private funeral and the two LE offices that failed to honour their colleague are so hamstrung by PC thinking that they simply caved in...and that is the real sadness of this story.

As for James Brown, he's probably in heaven now, sitting on a barstool next to Ted Williams and screaming, "WTF?" and then Ted says, "Tell me about it"! Seriously, the police in SC need to find out why this is being allowed to happen.
The greed and the selfishness of is family is now truly criminal, IMHO.
20 posted on 01/23/2007 6:34:02 AM PST by ishabibble (ALL-AMERICAN INFIDEL)
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To: radar101

" defend the family's right to free expression."

How does pulling the honor guard affect free speech?


21 posted on 01/23/2007 8:27:45 AM PST by gcruse (http://garycruse.blogspot.com/)
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To: gcruse

That's what the Mexicans claimed in March--That waving the Mexican flag was simply exercising their freedom of expression--First Amendment


22 posted on 01/23/2007 12:24:32 PM PST by radar101 (LIBERALS = Hypocrisy and Fantasy)
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To: radar101

They're right. It was.
Having an honor guard walk away from a funeral because they objected to the stars and bars was not a speech issue, though, unless you count walking off as THEIR speech.


23 posted on 01/23/2007 1:08:51 PM PST by gcruse (http://garycruse.blogspot.com/)
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To: StoneWall Brigade; L98Fiero; RFEngineer; DarthDilbert; James Ewell Brown Stuart; Fairview; ...

DixiePing


24 posted on 01/23/2007 1:09:36 PM PST by stainlessbanner ("I cannot be destroyed. I cannot be silenced. I cannot be compromised." - The Nuge)
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To: Rebeleye
I live in Bryan/College Station so I've heard about this story since it happened.

For the most part, the citizens have not been supportave of what the police departments did.

25 posted on 01/23/2007 1:12:03 PM PST by COEXERJ145 (Bush Derangement Syndrome Has Reached Pandemic Levels on Free Republic.)
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To: stainlessbanner

This is just plain Awful


26 posted on 01/23/2007 1:12:16 PM PST by StoneWall Brigade (THIS IS THE CALL OF THIS GENERATION. THIS IS AMERICA'S HOUR. SEN. RICK SANTORUM)
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To: radar101
"AND this is not offensive?"

They're not getting an honor guard, so there's nopoint in the post.

27 posted on 01/23/2007 1:15:11 PM PST by spunkets
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To: spunkets
"They're not getting an honor guard, so there's nopoint in the post."

So we are just supposed to lie down and take the PC crap is that it?!

28 posted on 01/24/2007 3:46:22 PM PST by Colt .45 (Navy Veteran - Thermo-Nuclear Landscapers Inc. "Need a change of scenery? We deliver!")
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To: Colt .45
" So we are just supposed to lie down and take the PC crap is that it?!"

Islamic terrorists have no claim to an honor guard whatsoever. That is not PC, it is reality. See, post #11 that I replied to. The "honor" they should receive, is bannishment to their homeland, hell.

29 posted on 01/24/2007 3:53:34 PM PST by spunkets
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To: spunkets

And I am talking about the PC Cops who cut and run at the sight of a CBF.


30 posted on 01/24/2007 3:58:19 PM PST by Colt .45 (Navy Veteran - Thermo-Nuclear Landscapers Inc. "Need a change of scenery? We deliver!")
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To: Colt .45

This is most unfortunate as it may lead to criminals displaying Confederate battle flags when confronted by the Bryan-College Station police. The cops would surely then run for cover!


31 posted on 01/25/2007 6:29:27 AM PST by Rebeleye
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To: Rebeleye
I take it that freedom of speech only applies if you are African-American, Latino, Arabic, Native American, Hindu, Russian, Beloruss(Ukrainian), Eastern European, European, African, South American, Canadian, South East Asian, etc. If you are white, and of Anglo-Saxon descent it DOESN'T APPLY to you!

Geez - where is the Constitution I defended for so many years?!

32 posted on 01/25/2007 2:08:42 PM PST by Colt .45 (Navy Veteran - Thermo-Nuclear Landscapers Inc. "Need a change of scenery? We deliver!")
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To: fortheDeclaration

I'm no fan of the reb flag either, but this is ridiculous. Disturbing whatever comforts a grieving family is a rotten thing.


33 posted on 01/26/2007 2:15:16 PM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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