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Catching fire: U.S. flag in flames at Turner Field during Braves fireworks show

Big League Stew
Old Glory aflame

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(Julie Paulk on Facebook)

The Atlanta Braves should have made a little more room in the program when honoring Hall of Famer Henry Aaron on Tuesday night at Turner Field. They also could have used Rick Monday and his legendary flag-saving skills.

A U.S. flag mounted atop a scoreboard caught fire, apparently during a fireworks show after the game. A Braves fan named Julie Paulk happened to snap a photo and posted it on her Facebook page.

Poor Old Glory. Bombs bursting in the air gave proof through the night that our flag was no longer there. But the Braves don't really hate America. And there wasn't even an anti-American protest overseas that prompted the flag catching fire. The South was not rising again, although it still might someday. It was just an accident. The Braves pyrotechnical crew should be more careful, though.

Deadspin jokingly called it the defining moment of the Braves season no matter what. Harsh.

Any time you juxtapose a burning flag and a ballpark, it's a reminder of the time Rick Monday saved a flag from burning by two dopes at a Los Angeles Dodgers game in 1973. This past August was the 40th anniversary of Monday's save. A Dodgers broadcaster today (yes, they have more than Vin Scully), Monday never tires of telling the tale — nor should he. His act — and the famous photo accompanying it — was as iconic as any other political protest using the flag.

If only the Braves had the foresight to bring Monday to Aaron's 40th anniversary celebration of breaking Babe Ruth's home run record, he could have jumped into the sky and come down with the flag before it was reduced to ashes.

Maybe on the 50th, Braves. And thanks again, Rick Monday.

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David Brown edits Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at and follow him on Twitter!

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