- Posted November 5, 2012 by
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MITT ROMNEY FLAG STORY IS A LIE! THE FLAG WAS AT ROMNEY CHURCH IN 2002 DURING THE SALT LAKE CITY OLYMPICS!
By Maeve Reston
November 4, 2012, 1:15 a.m.
PLEASE READ SECTION TRUE FACTS!
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Mitt Romney tried out many stories on the campaign trail this fall to illustrate his belief in the enduring spirit of America. Some were personal — delving into his ministerial duties as a leader in his church. Others were about people whose courage has inspired him.
Ultimately, the Republican nominee settled on one story that has become the closing anecdote in many of his speeches: The tale of an American flag sent into outer space and recovered from the wreckage of the space shuttle Challenger in perfect condition.
These days Romney often leads into the story by telling the crowd, as he did Saturday night in this Denver suburb, that his confidence in America’s future stems from his view that Americans are a people who “give ourselves to things larger than ourselves.”
NTERACTIVE: Tally the battleground states
As a Boy Scout leader some years ago, Romney said he attended a ceremony for young Eagle Scouts where a scoutmaster from Monument, Colo., told the story of his troop asking NASA officials to take their American flag on the Challenger mission. NASA agreed.
As Romney tells the story, the boys watched with pride as they saw the Challenger shuttle launch into the air. “Then,” Romney said, “they saw it explode on the TV screen in front of their eyes.”
The scoutmaster repeatedly called NASA after the Challenger crash, asking if any remnant of the flag had been recovered.
Now known as the Challenger Flag, it has enjoyed some storied exploits since its discovery during the Challenger wreckage recovery efforts. The Challenger Flag found its way into the mission flight kit thanks to Troop 514's scoutmaster, Major William Tolbert, an officer attached to the United States Air Force Space Command.
Prior to its NASA submission, Tolbert also managed to have the flag flown above the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 25, 1985. Though explosion all but destroyed the flag's commemorative case and a group of silver medallions along with the Challenger, the flag itself survived to fly at many notable events and locations.
TRUE FACTS! SO ROMNEY LIED AGAIN ABOUT HOW THIS STORY HAPPENED!
THE FLAG WAS PART OF THE SALT LAKE CITY OLYMPICS! ALSO AS IN THE STORY FOUND FROM RESEARCH
Then, in 2002, the troop loaned the flag to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for display in Salt Lake City while the city hosted the Winter Olympic Games.
(Technically, Challenger itself did not explode—rather, extreme g-forces caused by a severe malfunction in one of the spacecraft's solid rocket boosters tore it apart. As such, the disaster wrought surprisingly little fire damage on the cargo.)
NASA returned the flag to Troop 514 in late 1986, but it did not remain with them long. In early 1987, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Warren Burger designated the Challenger Flag as the official flag of the U.S. Constitution's Bicentennial celebrations. On Sept. 17, 1987, the Challenger Flag served as a featured part of the Constitutional Parade in Philadelphia, and the following day it flew once again above the U.S. Capitol.
The Challenger Flag then went into semi-retirement for the next 15 years, serving only as an honored artifact in Colorado Boy Scout Eagle Court ceremonies. Then, in 2002, the troop loaned the flag to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for display in Salt Lake City while the city hosted the Winter Olympic Games.
Today, the Challenger Flag again resides in the possession of Troop 514, awaiting its next call to duty—and its next entry into the annals of Geek Trivia.
INTERACTIVE: Follow the money in the race
In Romney’s recounting, a NASA official told the scoutmaster after a few weeks that the agency had a presentation to make to the Boy Scout troop: “So NASA came together and the boys were there,” Romney told the crowd Saturday night. “They presented the boys with this plastic container, and they open it up and inside was the American flag, their flag, in perfect condition.”
Romney said when he first heard the story from the scoutmaster, William Tolbert — who is now a major in the United States Air Force assigned to the Space Command — he was sitting next to the flag at the Eagle Scout ceremony. “I reached over and I grabbed that flag and held it out, and it was as if electricity was running through my arm,” Romney said.
“Because I thought about all the men and women in our space program who put themselves in danger’s path out of a desire for learning and knowledge, for us,” the candidate continued. “This is the American way. I think of all of our servicemen and women who put themselves in harm’s way for freedom and for us.”