Friday, October 2, 2009

Our Flag

So I come into work this morning and our American Flag and state flag are draped over a piece of equipment in the yard.  Strange.  I come inside and our office manager is in a rage.  Her son is in the Army awaiting deployment to Afghanistan.  She is a very patriotic person and this really has her bothered.  We find out the business in front of ours had their flags stolen a few weeks ago.  Now, stealing at least leaves the possibility that someone took the flags for their own use.  It could have been around the time of 9/11, I'm not sure.  But ours were actually somewhat neatly draped over the boom of our crane truck.  Additionally the lanyard was tied up in a manner that you had to get an 8' ladder to get the thing untied in order to put the flags back up.  Whoever did this wanted to make it difficult to raise them again.  Very odd way to start your morning.  And it gets someone like me thinking.

Primarily who and why?  Young kids?  Just a prank?  Some anti-American sentiment involved?  Some message trying to be sent?  We'll never know.  But it does raise some more questions.
As a Boy Scout and a graduate of a military school, I have spent most of my life with a strong understanding of how our flag is to be honored.  I cringe if I see one touch the ground during a raising or lowering ceremony.  There is only one way to fold a flag, there is only one way to dispose of a flag.  There is proper etiquette for our flag.  So how do you dispose of a flag.  It should be disposed of in a dignified manner, preferably by burning.  BY BURNING!  Yes, there is a dignified way to dispose of a flag by burning it.  Cerimoniuosly.  Not disrespectfully.  Regardless of how you try to explain the who, what, and why someone did what they did last night, it was still disrespectful to our flag.

The sight of Old Glory still gives me goose bumps at times.  It is a powerful symbol to me, and a strong reminder of the sacrifices that so many have made so that I can live a life of freedom.  I am free to make my own choices and live with the rewards, or deal with the consequences.  It is a symbol to others from other nations who have come to this great nation so that they can live in a free society.  Unfortunately, to some people it is a symbol of oppression, hatred, even evil.  This bothers me.  It bothers me deeply.

Maybe it was just some kids.  Maybe they really weren't doing anything other than a childish prank.  Maybe is was really all innocent fun.  But, there in lies another problem with our me-me society.  We are getting out of line in certain areas.  How many people, especially young people, are taught flag etiquette?  How many people, especially young people, have the kind of reverence for our flag that I do?  Do they see it and know all that it stands for?  Do they see all the sacrifice?  Or do they see it and know exactly what it means to some people and choose to disrespect the flag and our countrymen in such a way?

Our country, the United States of America, is great.  We are the greatest nation on this planet.  We are not perfect, but we are great.  Man is imperfect.  Man is sinful.  Man will make mistakes.  And any nation that is governed by man will be imperfect, sinful, and make mistakes.  But we are still great.  Does that mean everyone should agree with us or like us.  No, not necessarily.  We are free to have our own opinions, and our great nation and our great Constitution may not be for everyone.  To each his own.  But, again, to each his own.

There are many things I do not agree with and do not like.  I do not like certain restaurants.  I don't like certain stores.  I don't like smoky bars.  I don't like what I see going on in politics, and Washington, DC.  I don't like certain cars, clothes, foods, etc.  I don't even like to be in the company of certain people.  I have that freedom.  And I also have the freedom to choose.  But I ramble this way for a reason.  If I didn't like my country to the point where I would disrespect the flag of this great nation, why would I not choose to live in whatever other "great" nation I had such apparent reverence for.  I am free to move to any other country that would have me.  There are no chains binding me to America.  And there are many countries waiting with open arms.

Again, our nation and our Constitution are great.  We have a means by which our voices can be heard and changes can be made.  We are a diverse nation and there will always be multiple sides to every story.  There will always be winners and losers.  There will always be disagreement.  But when dissent bubbles and boils into a true dislike for our great nation, to the point of disrespecting our flag, it is time to move on.  Maybe it was some misguided kids that just need an old fashioned butt whippin' and some education.  But if it was some anti-American gesture, whoever you are you are in the minority.  There are some things that will never change.

Many Americans before me have fought and died to keep this flag flying.  I will too.  Go somewhere else and leave my flag alone!

1 comment:

  1. The proper way to decommission the US flag is by burning. However, there is a proper way to burn it. You first cut the blue star field away from the flag. You then burn the red and white stripes, as these represent the thirteen colonies, which came first. Then you burn the Canton, or Union, which is the blue star field.

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