In 1949, President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th as National Flag Day. According to many, including the Supreme Court of the United States, our flag, and everything that flag represents, is not as important as a person’s right to desecrate that flag. I understand that freedom of speech may be paramount among our God-given rights, but I do not believe the act of burning the flag should fall under that category, and neither do many other Americans.
Try convincing a wife whose husband’s flag-draped coffin is resting on his funeral bier.
Try to convince her as she watches a military honor guard carefully, precisely, and reverently fold that flag, then present it to her.
If you could go back in time to Iwo Jima, try convincing the men who raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi, that someone’s right to burn that flag will one day trump the meaning behind the flag.
Tell it to the workers who raised the flag at Ground Zero, on September 11, 2001.
Good luck trying to have that conversation with the American soldier whose uniform displays that flag, and who lost her legs when an IED detonated on an Iraqi road.
Americans don’t put their lives on the line for the flag. They do put their lives on the line for everything that flag represents. When someone intentionally desecrates our flag, it is not about the cloth; it is about assaulting the nation, and getting away with it. It is about thumbing noses at the overwhelming good behind that flag, along with the perceived evil the flag-burner claims overshadows the good. Further, it is usually about wanting to see this nation, as the United States of America, become a note in history.
That flag is all-encompassing. Just as it embraces the freedom of God-given rights, it embraces the correction of missteps, the inequities, the misogyny, and other failures of man.
There is no nation on earth that can equal the overwhelming good that is the substance of that flag.
I hope all of you will proudly display your flag as a reminder to those who think so little of what it represents. Remind them that their right to burn Old Glory has been fought for by millions who have carried that flag into battle, who have sworn an oath to protect the nation that flag represents, and that it has flown proudly over this nation throughout times of war and peace for 245 years.
For those who don’t think that the act of burning the Stars and Stripes goes far beyond freedom of speech, you are wrong. Without that flag, there would be no United States of America, and you would be wishing you were in a country that recognized your basic, God-given rights, as America does.
When someone burns the American flag, they are not burning a piece of cloth; they are attacking the very fabric of our nation – the fabric of freedom.
Try burning the flag of another country – in that country. I dare you to see just how far your freedom of speech gets you in Iran.