By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
September 10, 2020
“There comes a time when principles mean more than paychecks.” That’s what Air Force veteran Gary Dean told the media this week to explain his departure from Food Lion after the supermarket chain informed him he could no longer wear a face covering featuring the American flag.
The retired news broadcaster left his job in Havelock, North Carolina, and posted a photo of himself in the mask on his Facebook page, sharing the fact that managers at his work had told him the flag-themed mask he had been wearing for months without issue was now prohibited because “somebody was offended” by it. After the post spurred thousands of shares and comments, Food Lion announced a new policy allowing U.S. flag masks.
“Food Lion has the utmost respect for the American flag and has a proud, long history of partnering with and supporting military organizations and communities. Over the past few days, we have been listening to our associates and customers about Food Lion’s mask policy as part of our uniform standards,” the retailer posted on its Facebook page. “While we continue to maintain our uniform standards requiring associates to wear masks without writing, insignia or symbols, we will allow associates to wear masks with the American flag that meet this standard…”
Although Dean, 69, doesn’t plan to return to work at Food Lion, he has expressed his gratitude for the company’s change of heart.
“We won, God won, the country won, freedom won,” he told the Christian Post.
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, called Dean’s actions “the essence of patriotism.”
“When we think of patriotism, we most often think of the soldier, airman, marine, or sailor who gave that last full measure of devotion by sacrificing his life in defense of his country. Providence, however, won’t call upon most of us to lay down our lives. Yet every American should be willing to live as sacrificially in defense of his country as a soldier is willing to die for it,” Creech said. “Dean was willing to lose his job, sacrifice his income, in resistance to those who would dishonor the American flag.”
He said Dean was right to be appalled that someone would be offended by his love for his country, and that Dean rightly believed it unconscionable that the company for whom he worked would demonstrate shame for Old Glory in their corporate policies.
“How many other people would have acquiesced and said, ‘Oh well,’ then taken off the mask and complied? Certainly not a patriot!” Creech said. “Though it may have seemed a relatively small matter, it is the little foxes that eat up the vineyard. Patriotism is standing up for America right where you live, in whatever circumstances our great Republic is assaulted or demeaned, even if it costs you dearly. This is one of the ways we keep the American idea alive. It’s one of the ways freedom is passed from one generation to the next.”
Dean told reporters that he doesn’t miss a chance to show his love for “the greatest Nation…flaws and all…in the history of Nations.”