From the News &Observer:
RALEIGH – L.F. Eason III gave up the only job he’d ever had rather than lower a flag to honor former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms.
Eason, a 29-year veteran of the state Department of Agriculture, instructed his staff at a small Raleigh lab not to fly the U.S. or North Carolina flags at half-staff Monday, as called for in a directive to all state agencies by Gov. Mike Easley.
When a superior ordered the lab to follow the directive, Eason decided to retire rather than pay tribute to Helms. After several hours’ delay, one of Eason’s employees hung the flags at half-staff.
Bravo. His email message to co-workers is also worth reading:
“This is in no way a political decision. I simply do not feel it is appropriate to honor a person whose epitaph of government service was to have voted against or blocked every civil rights issue that came before the US Congress. His doctrine of negativity, hate, and prejudice cost North Carolina and our Nation much that we may never regain.”
Excerpts from an e-mail message that Eason sent later that same day to Gov. Mike Easley and state Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler:
“I made a decision to refuse to lower our flags at the NC Standards Laboratory to half mast in honor of Jesse Helms as soon as I heard of his death. I cannot in good conscience honor such a man who fought so hard against Civil and Human Rights throughout his life. Even to his death bed, he refused to apologize for the damage he caused. Now, I stand by this decision. It is a personal decision, but obviously affects my job at the lab. It has been over ruled by Division and Departmental Management and as I look out my window, I’m ashamed to see the flags lowered.
North Carolina and the US cannot escape that, at the end of the day, Jesse Helms stood for evil. It made me angry to see local flags at half mast after his death, Senator or no. I’m glad at least one person was willing to stand up to that madness.
(Hat tip to Rob.)