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Respect for the Flag

Recently there have been reports of United States flags found in trash bags.  While the details may be sketchy as to how or why they wound up in trash bags it raises concerns.  Our flag has been a symbol of pride since the beginning of our country and it deserves respect.  While our country may not be perfect, we enjoy many liberties and rights that others can only hope for in their respective countries.  Our country and our flag have been through many trying times and probably will in the future.   It is a reminder of who we are and the privileges we enjoy.  For more information on this incident a link is provided at the end of this article.

Our country has been involved in many conflicts and two World Wars in which individuals have fought and given their lives to defend the ideas our country represents.  When individuals do not respect the flag by such examples as placing them in trash bags, I feel it signals that something needs to change.  Each individual who desecrates the flag or what I feel is being disrespectful have their own story.  While I may not agree with their actions it is one of the freedoms we enjoy in this country.   I do not support taking any freedoms away from individuals who feel a need to demonstrate their frustration through the American flag.  When people feel that it is necessary to desecrate or disrespect our flag, it is a call to action to address the reason.  We all have problems and each of us have our own ways to address them.  We may not always agree with the action taken but it is their right to do so.

The flag flies in honor of those who have given their lives and dedication to our way of life.   There are those who would like to destroy what the flag stands for and they have tried.  This article is about what the flag represents, what it has gone through and why it deserves respect.  Some of the information included will be how I perceive what the flag represents and sites referenced provide more information on the history of our flag.  I have searched many sites and I found much information about the history of the flag.  Some of the information provided may surprise some as it did me, as I did not remember them from my history lessons in school.  The flag of the United States represents the character and resolve of the citizens.  The battles, which have been fought and those who have served to defend it should make us all proud.

The beginning of our country was out of the need for personal and religious liberty.  Many individuals and families sought a place to start a new life.  The symbol of this idea is the flag that our country now has. There is much information available about the history of our flag.  I have included links to two specific sites at the end of this article.  Each one offers different information about the history of the United States flag and what it has gone through and the process of where it is today.  Readers of this article may find the information interesting as I did when I found them while writing this article.  The information presented in the following paragraphs is freely provided under the license granted from the sites provided at the end of this article.  Another issue involves a movement to add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban the desecration of the U.S. Flag.  A link to these sites can also be found at the end of this article.   Before going into details of the information on the sites referenced above my personal feelings about the U.S. flag is important to gain a perspective on the approach of this article.   I am proud of our flag.  I feel the flag is a symbol of the character and resolve that citizens of the United States possess.  We have been tested many times during our history and those who have done so have discovered that they have underestimated us.  There have been times that individuals perceive we do not have the resolve to stay the course and in some cases, it may be true.  However, these instances are not a true reflection of the resolve to stand up for our beliefs.  We have been attacked more than once in our history and when this occurred, we came together as a nation to make those who generated the attack pay for their actions.

Everyone has a right to protest in our country and though I may not agree with using the flag to protest they have the right to do so.  I understand the Supreme Court decision regarding a Texas case and the freedom of speech issue raised.  A link to more information on this case can be found at the end of this article.  There are many federal laws passed each year while a law protecting the flag may be appropriate I feel it would only create more problems.  Freedom to protest within the law is an important privilege we have and a law associated with protecting the flag would complicate this right.  When I began writing this article, I had the opinion that a law protecting the flag was necessary but I now do not feel this way.  The reason for this is that it is difficult if not impossible to regulate someone’s feelings except when the feelings violate others rights.

We as a country may not always agree on every issue and the actions taken but we should all agree on protecting/respecting the flag.  Many individuals serve or have served in the military and have given the ultimate sacrifice to defend the principles it represents.  Some military individuals may feel the need to use the flag to make their case for their dissatisfaction, which may involve desecrating the flag.  Many people desecrate our flag, some here in this country and others in foreign lands.  We do not have any control over actions in foreign lands and we must exercise some restraint on such actions in the United States.

Many people protest various decisions or actions by our government and this is their right.  While we cannot make everyone happy in every circumstance, we must examine our actions both personally and as a government, which cause these kinds of protests to be generated.  This is especially true when it affects the very symbol of our country.  Granted there are other symbols of our country other than our flag but our flag is one thing everyone in the world recognizes.  Protests in our country are normal and the use of the flag brings some protests greater importance in the news.  When individuals feel the need to use our flag in protest, we must examine why and make changes in our actions or inactions to resolve the issues involved.  When we do this, we will become a better country.

 

The following links provide more information about the issues and information identified in this article.  The first is about the issue of U.S. flags found in trash bags

 

U.S. flags in trash bags

http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/09/06/mccain-camp-to-chastise-dems-for-discarding-american-flags/

 

Links to information on the history of the United States Flag

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_the_United_States

 

http://www.usflag.org/.

 

Information on the movement to add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban the desecration of the U.S. flag is identified below.

 

http://www.ahcuah.com/lawsuit/ussc/johnson.htm, and

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/27/AR2006062701056.html

 

The link to the Texas Court Case involving the issue of freedom of speech and the U.S. flag is below.

 

http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1988/1988_88_155/

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Dennis AuBuchon

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