I thought about the best way to approach the subject because it can be a little tricky. For you see the same freedoms that our brave men and women fight for every day are the very same ones that allow Americans to ignore it. The American Legion continues to fight to pass an amendment to the constitution to protect out nations flag. National Commander Wong recently stated the following: “The last time a vote was taken in the Senate it fell short by only one vote,” Wong said. “As people are again seeing images on YouTube of their flag being desecrated – the same flag that covers the coffins of our war heroes returning from Afghanistan – we think it’s time for Congress to take another vote. The American people should tell their representatives and senators to support S.J. Res 19 and H.J. Res. 13. Congress can either stand with the 1 percent who desecrate the flag or the 99 percent who revere it.”
In the meantime there are a number of things that you and I can do to support it. It begins with education. Here is an example. Because we are free to worship and free to speak most public schools do not require students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance anymore. That is ok because we as parents, and grandparents should be teaching our children what these traditions and passages mean. Only a small percentage of our children participate in scouting and the participation in JROTC programs is typically less than twenty percent of high school students so that leaves about eighty percent of young adults not really learning what this issue is all about. I have the pleasure of attending many events and parades and it troubles me to see our youth and in some cases adults not paying respect to our nations flag. In the end regardless of the laws and written flag code it comes down to the simple word “RESPECT” I know that they are still teaching that in public schools as one of the three R’s.
Title 4, United States Code, Chapter 1 explains all the proper ways to show respect and how and when our flag should be displayed. If you have a minute go on line at http://www.legion.org/flag/code and read it you may be surprised at what you find. I intentionally waited until after Memorial Day to write this. As I predicted there were a number of different interpretations of flag displays on Memorial Day. How many of you know the flag is supposed to be flown at half-mast only from sunrise to noon? It became pretty obvious some did not. The school system got it right. Knowing that there would be nobody around on the holiday to raise and lower them they simply took the flags down. There were still some flags at half-mast on public buildings when I drove to work today.
As a Post Commander, a twenty year Navy veteran, and a proud American, I ask you each, regardless of your political or religious views, to take minute and help us pay proper respect to our nation’s flag. Teach our youth the traditions of it and remember those who gave their lives in defense of it.
For God and Country,
Jay C. Bolles
Commander Post 274