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Sunday, June 14, 2015

US Flag Day And Common Sense On Flag Desecration

The 14th day of June is Flag Day in the United States. This day commemorates the adoption of the first flag of the United States by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.

In 1916, US President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day. In August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. Flag Day is not an official federal holiday.



What more appropriate day to discuss the following topic: flag desecration.

I fly the US flag outside my house every day - along with one other flag dear to my heart. One the symbol of the country and constitution that I love, the other the symbol of the Southland of my birth and part of my cultural identity. Both flags mean a great deal to me, and I have been known to have more than a few words with people who speak badly about either one.

Recently, there has been a trend among some individuals in America to show their disdain for both flags. The first is a social media campaign was launched a little over a month ago by Leftist activists encouraging young people to post photos online of them stepping on the US flag laying on the ground. The other a protest of a handful of extreme anti-Southern heritage reactionaries to "cremate" and scatter the ashes of the Dixie Cross in every former Confederate State to "celebrate the end of the War."



Such disrespect and low-class behavior is not new.

For decades those who have some grievance with America, from Vietnam-era protesters to the Westboro Baptist "Church" (the last word I use loosely) have shown their disdain by burning the US flag, one of the most disgraceful - and ultimately useless - acts one can commit as a form of protest.

The recent cremation ceremonies - held on US Memorial Day of all days - by Confederate flag haters and pro-white supremacist reactionaries and other "uber-patriots" was likewise both unimaginative, and ultimately served no point beyond an excuse for angry anti-Southern bigots to gather and vent their anger at whatever stereotypes they choose to accept as the norm.

In both cases barely a handful of anti-American and anti-Southern activists actually preformed these acts. Yet both the US flag stomping campaign and the Dixie Cross cremation ceremonies were important enough to make national news for various different reasons, giving these low-class morons more attention than either deserved.

Under the US Constitution, flag burning and yes even stepping on it is recognized as an acceptable form of protest.

Acceptable: yes. Tasteful: not so much.

Both acts were meant to serve two purposes on the part of the people preforming them: to express their own anger and disdain for both this country and for what they feel is some injustice, either real or imagined; and to provoke a negative reaction from those whom they consider regressive, bigoted, or simply do not share their particular political and social idealism. 

In my case, both acts did anger me - for about a minute.

My only outrage over both acts was the disrespect they showed to those American soldiers and servicemen (US soldiers in all America's wars and Confederate servicemen both) who fought and died, or suffered wounds and disabilities, in defense of their country and home. Even if you do not respect the government a flag represents, you should at least respect the sacrifices of the men who died for them, and the land that they loved. My respect for both flags centers less around government bureaucracies and politics, and more around respect for the constitutional ideals and the land they represent (more the former in the case of the US flag) as well as a profound respect for those who died in their defense.  

There is one beautiful thing about these two beautiful symbols. One can destroy the cloth, but the symbols and the true meaning and ideals they hold for any individual in their hearts and minds cannot be so so easily desecrated. New flags can be made. They can fly in the sunshine, the rain, the snow, the wind. They can fade and wear out, and be replaced again. It's not the bunting itself, but what it represents to those who honor it and cherish it that matters.

The only way to truly desecrate either of those flags is to misuse either one as a tool to express hatred of others, to corrupt their meaning through bigoted ideology to advance the sin of hatred, or to blindly accept the idea that misuse of either symbol means they are tainted. So long as someone is there to speak out and stand up against such wrongful thinking and misuse, that will never be a fait accompli.

In the end, what did the walking on, or burning of either the US flag and the Dixie Cross accomplish other than allowing a bunch of angry, hate-filled fools to an excuse to throw their tantrum? The flags they destroyed themselves are little more than cloth - or more likely cheaply printed nylon fabric - most of which were probably imported from China rather than made in the USA. The flag haters themselves, despite their protests are still angry and bitter people, and will likely remain such as long as they keep the sin of hatred in their hearts.

Meanwhile, the rest of us move on and more forward....and Old Glory and the Dixie Cross still fly in the American breeze. 

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