Eventually, once the budget picture is a bit sunnier, the town of White Settlement is going to anchor Veterans Park with a grand memorial wall honoring the country's soldiers. For now, that task is borne by a squat gray monument just south of the pond and a few hundred feet from the outfield fence of the baseball diamond.
It's a handsome enough slab of granite, no more or no less remarkable than any other memorial you'd find in a small-town park. It's etched with the logos of all four branches of the military. There's a nice quote paying homage the the men and women in uniform. At the top is an American flag billowing in an unseen breeze. The problem is, the flag has only 39 stars.
"It's not the American flag," John Baldwin declared to Fox 4. "The point is, we have 50 states. I'm a veteran. It should show 50 states, not 39."
Nor is Baldwin alone. In his piece, Fox 4's Saul Garza refers to "multiple viewers who contacted Fox 4," implying that there is more than one person counting stars at Veterans Park.
"It's barely half of the American flag," Emily Kuszmaul tells Garza, though it might have been less hyperbolic had she replaced "barely half" with "almost 80 percent."
But before you march on down to White Settlement's town hall to decry this slight against America's veterans or, like Baldwin, demand the complete replacement of the $5,000 monument, it's best to hear the city out. They already had an official prepared statement ready and waiting when Unfair Park called this afternoon:
If you simply envision that a three-star vertical column bound by two four-star vertical columns are to the right, under the curled, wind-blown flag, it's accurate. Thirty-nine stars is what you would see.
Jack Bell, the town's public works manager, says he could see why people might be upset if a straight flag happened to be missing 11 stars, but that's not the case.
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"The flag is not a straight flag," he says. "It's furled like it's blowing in the wind."
So it is, but anyone who doesn't notice that after what would have to be a careful examination and then takes their concerns to a local news station isn't likely to listen to an unelected bureaucrat.
Here's Garza's report: