An unlit American flag at the National Guard Armory in Lorain, Ohio, prompted one 9-year-old girl to action, touching the hearts of many nationwide.
“We hear a lot about kids today not caring and being stuck to their phones and TV,” Army Lt. Col. Bob Vagnier said, The Chronicle reports. “And we’ve been trying to get that light fixed for a while, but one letter from Zoey and it was done in 24 hours.”
It all began after Zoey Pol’s 13-year-old brother, Ayden, noticed the unlit flag in late 2016, 9-year-old Zoey made a mental note to keep an eye on it, reports The Morning Journal. Yet as weeks passed by, the girl grew increasingly concerned that nobody was doing anything about the flag.
“It was bothering her,” said Zoey’s father, Brad Pol, whose own father worked for the National Guard. “She was taught proper flag etiquette at McKinley Elementary School last year and when she told me about it, I suggested she write a letter.”
So, she took matters into her own hands by writing a letter all by herself notifying Lorain City Hall about the unlit flag about a month later.
“I didn’t see the letter,” her father, Brad, said. “I knew about it. She said, ‘I need an envelope.’ I gave her an envelope. She wrote the letter and she asked me for a stamp. So I gave her the stamp.”
At first, her father thought nothing would come of it. Yet, much to their surprise, that letter ended up in the hands of deputy auditor Kitty Koziura, who contacted Zoey and forwarded the information on.
The next thing they knew, a week later they had received a handwritten note from Sgt. 1st Class Andrew J. Harlan.
“It was quite impressive, I thought,” Zoey’s Dad said.
In the letter, Harlan thanked Zoey and assured her they would repair it — but that’s not all.
Harlan also invited the girl to shake hands with each of the 102 National Guard soldiers at a Feb. 5 ceremony. There, the girl received a camouflage hat and a challenge coin, while her brother was awarded a hat for noticing the unlit flag in the first place.
“I was pretty enamored; I was so proud,” her father said. “I didn’t know that they were going to treat this this way. So it was definitely a treat.”
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