The many nations helping Haiti recover from the devastating earthquake that struck there have set up their own military compounds and fly their flags at the entrances.
France’s tricolor, Britain’s Union Jack and even Croatia’s coat of arms flap in the breeze.
But the country whose contributions dwarf the rest of the world’s — the United States — has no flag at its main installation near the Port-au-Prince airport.
The lack of the Stars and Stripes does not sit well with some veterans and servicemembers who say the U.S. government should be proud to fly the flag in Haiti, given the amount of money and manpower the U.S. is donating to help the country recover from the Jan. 12 quake.
The Obama administration says flying the flag could give Haiti the wrong idea.
“We are not here as an occupation force, but as an international partner committed to supporting the government of Haiti on the road to recovery,” the U.S. government’s Haiti Joint Information Center said in response to a query about the flag.
The absence of the American flag bothers Navy veteran Arthur Herriford, national president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.
“It’s very improper,” Herriford said. “Our military people always engage and function under the American colors — always have and always will.”
Read More: By Alan Gomez and Oren Dorell, USA TODAY