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Group Apologizes After Photo Captures Disrespect of US Flag at Boston Marathon

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The organizers of the Boston Marathon apologized on Monday for placing the American flag on the ground during an awards ceremony and pledged it would not happen again.

“The flag was tossed into a corner during the ceremony honoring Daniel Romanchuk, 20, who set a new record for an American with his winning time in the men’s wheelchair race at the Boston Marathon,” WCVB-TV reported.

Romanchuk also was the youngest to win the race with a time of 1:21:36 and the first American to do so since 1993, according to USA Today.

The athlete had the flag draped over his shoulders until an award presenter removed it and placed it on the floor for the ceremony.

Social media lit up with harsh reaction to the lack of respect shown to the flag, even as the Star Spangled Banner played during the ceremony.

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According to the U.S. flag code, the Stars and Stripes should never touch the ground.

One Twitter user who identified himself as a U.S. Army solider tweeted, “While I always applaud the dedication it takes to even compete in a marathon, this is a real shame to have not one person notice that the flag of our nation lying in a heap in the corner of the stage.”

An Army veteran wrote, “Seeing this American flag on the ground at the Boston Marathon yesterday is just terrible. We must respect our flag at ALL times.”

Boston WCVB-TV news anchor Doug Meehan was more direct, tweeting, “Hey – whoever is at the Boston marathon finish line – pick the American flag up off the ground!”

Cambridge, Massachusetts acting fire chief Gerry Mahoney agreed, writing, “@BAA you should be ashamed of the behavior of your staff allowing an American Flag to lay on the ground! Especially with the tragic history surrounding the Boston Marathon!”

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The Boston Athletic Association apologized “sincerely” for the mistake and promised never to repeat it in the future.

Do you think the Boston Athletic Association responded appropriately to their error?

“We are reviewing our Awards protocol to ensure that this does not happen again,” Chief Operating Officer Jack Fleming said in a statement.

“The Boston Marathon has been an American tradition for more than a century and we take pride in the passion and determination that participants, spectators, and volunteers from around the world display at our annual event,” he added.

“Our flag is a symbol of freedom, unity, and community spirit — all of which are virtues that the Boston Athletic Association supports.”

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