A 69-year-old veteran was fired from Kentucky’s Florence Freedom Stadium after the park’s owner spotted him delay his duties as the national anthem played.
Tom Aue stopped scanning tickets, took off his hat, and placed it over his chest as the national anthem blared in the background. Park owner Clint Brown told Aue to return to work, and when the military veteran refused he let him go.
“The owner, who happened to be out there at that time, told us – or me in particular – to continue to scan tickets. And I kind of just took my hat off, put it over my chest, and offered him the scanner so he could continue to scan the tickets.”
Aue says that Brown later fired him for the infraction, but the park owner said that’s not exactly what happened.
“We like the guy,” said Brown, claiming he never fired Aue but offered to relocate him to a less crowded gate. “We like the employee. We just try to make everybody happy and sometimes that is hard.”
Brown, who is also a former veteran, says he understands where Aue is coming from. However, in order to maintain safety, crowds must continue to be ushered in to the stadium, even during the national anthem.
“How can you be unhappy with somebody who takes a stand on wanting to salute the flag?” said Brown. “As a former military guy, I think that is exactly what he should be doing, but the other side of the coin is the best business practice and the appropriate guideline for a business like ours to get a large crowd through a small hole pregame.”
Aue refuses to return to the stadium and urges the corporation to change their policy.
“I would like to see somebody use some common sense and show a little bit more respect for what the flag and the national anthem stand for,” said Aue.
(The following was a submission from freelance writer Brent Rogers)