Lance Cpl. Howard Greer, 19, of Princeton, is the son of Cracker Barrel employee Mona Kenady. He received the flag from the restaurant manager in a ceremonial presentation before leaving for Iraq.
The restaurant's general manager, Jeff Beals told his employee, Kenady, "I want to donate our flag to Howie. That way he can take a piece of you and home with him."
The flag is now flying over Greer's headquarters in Iraq and will not fly over the Cracker Barrel until Greer returns home with it.
In place of the American flag is a yellow ribbon that is tied to the flagpole and a picture of Greer. "It was the right thing to do at the time to show our support for the troops," said Beal.
Greer is the brother of Ashley Greer Crittendon and the husband of Kari E. Mason. He is a graduate of the Caldwell County High School class of 2003. Greer joined the U.S. Marine Corp in 2002 where he went to boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. as a private first class.
In the fall of 2004, Greer was informed that his unit would be deployed for Iraq in February 2005. He left for Iraq on February 7 and was sent to Al Quem, which is near the Syrian border. He is responsible for supporting the forward area refueling point (FARP) site for helicopters.
Greer was selected recently for a special operation as a team ordered to protect the crew of a downed Black Hawk helicopter until help could arrive. His mother, Mona, said the mission made her nervous but very proud.
Greer is scheduled to return from Iraq by September 15. He will bring the American flag back to Cracker Barrel where it will be displayed in a protective case in the restaurant. A new flag will then be hung on the flagpole. "He has the understanding that he has to be the one to bring it back," said Beal.
Troops and military personnel from Fort Campbell have supported the show of patriotism. "I just wanted to let them know that we remember them; not only Howie, but all of our military troops," Beal said.