Staff Sgt. Walt Peters wants to place an American flag at the White House and every VA hospital in the country, but not just any regular flag.
Peters, who is legally blind, has been placing tactile braille American flags in many parts of the country for those who are blind and visually impaired.
“Even if you can’t read braille, you can feel the power of the flag, you can feel the stars and stripes and you got a purpose,” he said.
On Tuesday, a braille U.S. flag was unveiled at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center’s Blind Rehabilitation Center. The rehab center is the second one in the nation to receive such a flag .
“This is a great honor for the VA. We are the first in Georgia to receive a braille flag,” said Herman Jefferson, the assistant chief of the rehab center. “It is quite an honor for Charlie Norwood to have that displayed on one of the walls in the medical center.”
The flag, bronze in color, has the Pledge of Allegiance written on it in braille. It was designed in 2005 by Randolph Cabral, the president of the Kansas Braille Transcription Institute, to honor the memory of his father, who was blind. In 2008, a bill was passed to placed a braille flag at Arlington National Cemetery to honor blind members of the armed forces, veterans and other Americans.
Peters, a Vietnam veteran, feels this is a way to help and honor blind veterans.
“I’ve learned that giving and helping somebody who is blind has given them the strength to take care of themselves, to do better and to enjoy life,” he said.
Jefferson said they learned about the flag because Peters had come through the Augusta program years ago. The facility currently has 12 patients and can hold up to 15. Programs tend to last from one to 10 weeks depending on how the veterans adjust to blindness, Jefferson said.
He hopes the flag sends a clear message to veterans at the rehabilitation center.
“I hope it shows them that they are not forgotten,” he said. “There is something just for them.”
Peters said those who are interested in getting a flag should contact the Kansas Braille Transcription Institute. The flag was donated by Disabled American Veterans through the Blinded Veterans Association.
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