Meet the Memorial Day patriot stopping people from putting flags on graves of veterans who didn’t die in combat
A self-described “super humble guy,” O’Tool is quick to recount his exploits protecting the dignity of Memorial Day.
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, Va. — Although many veterans have taken it upon themselves to educate citizens about the proper observation of Memorial Day, James O’Tool has decided to escalate efforts to counter what he sees as a war on the solemn day of remembrance. While some vets politely shame those who foolishly try to thank living veterans for their service, effectively confusing Memorial Day with Veterans Day, O’Tool set out to stop people from laying flags and wreaths on that day at the graves of any veteran who did not die in combat.
“It’s a travesty,” said O’Tool, who will slap anyone who even thinks of honoring someone in a veterans’ cemetery who didn’t give the ultimate sacrifice. “It’s kind of stolen valor when you think about it. Sure, all the people buried here served in some way. But would it kill you to do a little math with the date of death to guess if the person died heroically or not?”
To this end, each year O’Tool spends the weeks before the Federal Holiday creating a multi-paged color-coded map of Arlington National Cemetery. All the headstones of those who died because of war are colored blue, and those that died a natural death are colored red. Then on the actual holiday, he patrols the cemetery dressed in his traditional THESE COLORS DON’T RUN t-shirt and cowboy boots. One change this year required O’Tool to replace his time-honored Bud Lite baseball cap.
“The only other cap that fits is my Hooter’s hat,” said O’Tool. “I know it’s not perfect, but it’s better than wearing some woke crap on my head.”
He then marches up and down every row of stones, looking for anyone laying any kind of token of appreciation at a grave of a non-combat death veteran. Often the act has already been perpetrated, so O’Tool simply plucks each flag from the ground of the less deserving dead. But if he catches someone in the act, there is often hell to pay.
“I’m so grateful for his service,” said Gale Tremble, of Fredericksburg, Va. “I was about to put a flag and a flower down on a grave, and suddenly I hear a voice shouting, ‘Not that one! Not that one!’ Mr. O’Tool saved me from real embarrassment.”
Although a self-described “super humble guy,” O’Tool is quick to recount his exploits in protecting the dignity of Memorial Day.
“One year I caught a Boy Scout Troop with a ton of flags, just planting them willy-nilly at every headstone, basically pissing on the memory of the honored dead.” O’Tool then teared up as he recounted how he seized every one of those flags from those who shamefully died of old age. “‘This ain’t their day,’ I shouted at those scouts and chased them out of the cemetery. “
While some have called O’Tool’s efforts “insane,” many of America’s elderly lauded his work with a “like” and a “share” on Facebook.
“LOVE IT,” raved nearly every aunt and uncle over the age of 60.
As Memorial Day 2023 drew to a close, an exhausted patriot reflected on what lay ahead.
“My work is done today, but now I have to plan for Veterans Day. Then it’ll be the reverse. Any clown who tries to put a flag on the grave of the honored dead will get my boot up their backsides.”