Friday, May 6, 2011

Hotel Says Half-Staff Flag Not to Honor Bin Laden

Springfield News-Sun: Card-carrying AARP members still receive a 10 percent discount at the local (Ohio) Hampton Inn — but contrary to what some people might have thought this week, the same definitely doesn’t apply to members of al-Qaida.

When the rope inside the hotel’s flagpole broke Sunday, leaving Old Glory stranded at half-staff for the next several days, it couldn’t have come at a worse time.

“They’re thinking we’re supporters of (Osama) bin Laden,” said Connie Smith, the Leffel Lane hotel’s flabbergasted assistant general manager. “We started getting calls left and right.”

Close to two dozen irate Springfielders took to their phones to express outrage that the hotel would pay respect in the death of the al-Qaida leader. One woman in tears demanded to know whether the hotel owners were from Iraq, Iran or Pakistan. (No, no and no.)

“It was all over the fact that our flagpole broke,” Smith said. “It was a complete misunderstanding.

“It got to the point where we got a few threatening calls,” Smith said. “Some guy, I don’t know if he was drunk or what, said, ‘If you don’t take that flag down, I’m going to cut it down.’ He said he’d take the whole flagpole if he needed to.”

Ironically, the hotel had been in the act Sunday of performing a most patriotic duty — replacing a fraying flag — when the rope broke. The problem was fixed Wednesday.

“The town,” Smith confessed, “is obviously patriotic.”

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