L.F. Eason, a 29-year veteran of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, “instructed his staff at a small Raleigh lab not to fly the U.S. or North Carolina flags at half-staff Monday” to honor the late senator Jesse Helms, “as called for in a directive to all state agencies by Gov. Mike Easley.” In a string of e-mail messages with his superiors, Eason was told he could either lower the flags or retire effective immediately. Here is Eason’s reasoning for his decision to retire:
This is in no way a political decision. I simply do not feel it is appropriate to honor a person whose epitaph of government service was to have voted against or blocked every civil rights issue that came before the US Congress. His doctrine of negativity, hate, and prejudice cost North Carolina and our Nation much that we may never regain.