SLRC MAY SEEK ACTION VS. VA HOSPITAL THAT FORBADE SMALL CBF IN PATIENT’S ROOM
MEMPHIS – Officials at the Veterans’ Administration hospital here ordered 75-year-old paralyzed veteran Perry Thrasher to take a miniature Confederate battle flag off the wall of his hospital room and put it in a drawer, saying that its visibility violated federal regulations and had “offended” some other patients and hospital staff.
In an interview with Memphis TV station WREG, SLRC Chief Trial Counsel Kirk Lyons said the hospital’s actions violated Thrasher’s First Amendment rights, and indicated the SLRC was prepared to become involved
in helping Thrasher and his family pursue legal remedies if they decide to do so.
“The First Amendment applies to the hospital,” Lyons told a reporter. “You can’t go around to people and say you can’t have this symbol, you can’t have that symbol. That’s flat illegal. They are a federal facility.”
Thrasher’s daughter said her father, a Korean War veteran, was so upset he wept when told he would have to put his flag away. “His granddaddy fought in the Confederate War and it means a lot to him … it’s just his
heritage,” she said.
Lyons suggested that while a decision as to litigation is pending, readers might want to send Thrasher cards and letters of support and encouragement, and especially small battle flags. His address is Perry A. Thrasher, Spinal Cord Unit – 1 West, c/o VA Medical Center, 1030 Jefferson Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104.