Philippine Flag for a Souvenir
By: No Name Given
During a visit to Manila, Philippines by the then Vice President of the United States, Richard Nixon in '54 or '55, could even have been later, Vice President Richard Nixon and the President of the Philippines were giving Independence Day speeches in the Plaza next to the Manila Hotel. As most of you know, the Philippines celebrate their Independence Day on July 4th as do we. My buddy and I were atop the Manila Hotel watching the ceremonies below.
Standing on the roof of the hotel, leaning against the flag staff atop the hotel, the idea occurred to me to 'take' the Philippine flag for a souvenir, where upon lowering the flag during the ceremony, I folded the flag, fitted like a cummerbund about my waist and pulled my jumper down over the flag.
Not known to us was the fact we were being watched by security, after all, we were in an ideal spot for a sniper. Coming out of the attic of the hotel we were ordered to stop by security. We took off running down the stairs of the hotel, security went down the elevator waiting for us on the ground floor. We stopped at the mezzanine floor and going through the dining room on the mezzanine level, we proceeded out the service entrance in the rear of the hotel.
A search was made aboard our ship, where upon, I hid the Philippine flag in the Catholic Chaplain's vestments. Having to continually change the location from hanger to hanger as each Mass required a different vestment. When our ship returned to the States, I again wrapped the flag around my waist and left the ship on liberty. Boxing the flag at a local Post Office State-side, I shipped the flag home. I still have the flag, which I treat with respect. This was indeed a no no. I do regret having done this thing, but it is a continual reminder of this incident.
I ment no malice or disrespect toward the Philippines or the Filipino people. I did indeed enjoy the Philippines and their people. I actually learned some Togolog and still practice it from time to time on my Filipino friends here in the United States. I never told these Filipino friends here about the incident with the flag. I've kept it a secret all these years. I wasn't exactly proud of it, however I still revere the flag and have displayed it on the 4th of July along with the American flag. It has been well taken care of over all these years.