Letters to the Editor

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FLAG: Dishonor done to Old Glory

Letter by Jess Torres, Fircrest on June 1, 2011 at 8:14 am with 66 Comments »
June 1, 2011 8:39 am
People gather for a ceremony to unveil a steel beam which arrived at Gig Harbor Monday afternoon May 30, 2011. Four Gig Harbor firefighters took personal time and used donations and their own money to drive the artifact from New York.(Janet Jensen/Staff photographer)

Re: “Steel beam from 9/11 arrives in Gig Harbor” (TNT, 5-31).

While intended to be celebratory in nature, this article has made my blood boil. I refer to the shameful dishonor to our nation’s flag.

As a 20-year retired combat veteran, I must once again stand up for my country from those that in my opinion do it wrong. The picture of our nation’s flag covering a piece of steel shows three separate violations of our nation’s flag code.

First, the flag of the United States represents a living country and in itself is considered a living thing. It is not a covering (except for the covering of casket for our deceased military men and women.

Secondly, the flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground. In the picture, the flag is touching both the ground and the steel beneath it. Plus there is rope touching the flag securing the flag to the steel – clearly another violation.

Lastly, the flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, packaging, carrying of delivering anything. The article clearly states that the flag was used in delivering the steel to its location.

I would ask everyone to please take the time to research how to properly use and honor our nation’s flag. To do otherwise is a dishonor and insult to everything this nations stands for.

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Leave a comment Comments → 66
  1. whitecap says:

    While you are technically correct, I’m prompted to ask you this: did these rule “violations” bring dishonor to our nation in any way? Or, was the flag part of a ceremony that brought honor and patriotic rememberance? Do you think the authors of the flag rules ever thought intent mattered?

  2. Omega6234 says:

    Well written and correct on every aspect. The more we loosen our grip on integrity the more this country falls. Thank you Jess, for still standing up for what is right.

  3. live4fish says:

    Thank you Jess.

  4. BlaineCGarver says:

    Spot on. I”m sure, though, that it was done in ignorance and not with malice. I’m not mad, just a little sad that flag knowledge is waning in the country. The same is true when winners at the Olympics wrap themselves in the flag after earning a medal…

  5. Pecksbadboy says:

    Thank you Jess,
    This was more about a Fire Department PR stunt than any patroitic act.

  6. steilacoomtaxpayer says:

    Stunt, indeed. Get real, a piece of steel is not a body. With 24hr per day of hanging around the station you’d think they would look this out.

  7. I wondered why they had draped that beam with the flag myself, seemed a bit ‘off’ in my opinion.

  8. alindasue says:

    A dollar is a piece of thread-reinforced paper. It’s only value is the symbolic value that we give it. We could assign that value to a piece of plastic and that plastic would be worth just as much.

    Like-wise, a flag is a piece of patchwork cloth. It is not “a living thing”. It is merely a symbol used to represent our country in ceremonial situations. Any value that piece of cloth – that symbol – has is only that value that we assign to it.

    That piece of beam is also a symbol. To you, it may only be a piece of metal, but to those firefighters it represents the lives lost by Americans in the World Trade Center. It represents the emergency personnel who died trying to save those people in the buildings as they collapsed. As such, draping the memorial beam, in the same manner that we would the coffin of a person who “paid the ultimate price” in service to our country, is perfectly appropriate.

    Did they follow the protocol with military precision? Maybe not, but as whitecap said, “did these rule “violations” bring dishonor to our nation in any way?” No, they didn’t.

    How do you think the authors of the flag rules would feel seeing Americans more intent on following the letter of the rules rather than the spirit of them: to honor America and its people who serve her.

    Would that people would expend as much effort into protecting the Constitution from such ravages as the “Patriot Act” as they did worrying about what surface the flag might come in contact with. We’d all be much better off.

  9. Fibonacci says:

    alindasue
    You said it much better than I could have. The spirit, the intention is more important than some set of “rules”. Who wrote the rules?

  10. KARDNOS says:

    Jess – flag etiquette used to mean something. I can remember the first clothing that came out looking like an American flag and hippies were chastised for wearing them.

    Now you have TEA Partiers that probably have American flag Depends.

    Thanks for a reminder that false patriotism isn’t patriotism.

  11. Reply to alindasue. You got my vote. Too many folks get their panties in a bunch over some little thing. The firefighters were doing a great job and should be congratulated, not castigated. Jess needs to get a life.

  12. nwcolorist says:

    Would it have been too difficult if the event’s sponsors made the presentation by observing the correct flag protocol?

  13. truthbusterguy says:

    Be it lowering our standards for education, personal and parental responsibility and moral and ethical behavior the folks on the left seem to come out of their hole to defend the actions of others so they don’t feel guilty about their own conduct.

    Can’t we have at least one standard in this country that we all hold in high regard?

    This shameful public relations scam by the GHFD was only designed to garner support for the next bond measure to raise taxes in Gig Harbor. Now they shame the City of Gig Harbor by showing disrespect the flag.

  14. live4fish says:

    Olemag-

    Jess had a great life. Defending your sorry butt so you could badmouth a veteran. Maybe you need to get your panties in a wad and show some patriotism.

  15. alindasue says:

    truthbusterguy said, “Be it lowering our standards for education, personal and parental responsibility and moral and ethical behavior the folks on the left seem to come out of their hole to defend the actions of others so they don’t feel guilty about their own conduct.”

    I am well aware of proper flag protocol and, personally, do handle flags in the manner prescribed. That said, I maintain that showing the proper respect for the people and country that the flag represents is more important than worrying about whether every person in America follows the protocol to the letter.

    “Can’t we have at least one standard in this country that we all hold in high regard?”

    I’d recommend we start with the standards of civility and respect for our fellow humans.

  16. fbergford says:

    Jess as a warfighter myself I hear ya! It is a little disappointing that our civil servants do not know proper flag etiquette especially when they fly one outside of their building.

  17. theglovesRoff says:

    So what do TEA partiers have to do with this letter?

    A little off topic there joe

  18. KARDNOS says:

    “theglovesRoff says:
    June 1, 2011 at 8:28 pm
    So what do TEA partiers have to do with this letter?

    A little off topic there joe”

    The name is Kardnos and TEA Partiers constantly misuse flags.

    Get it that time?

  19. KARDNOS says:

    Maybe this will help, GloveR:

    “Syracuse, NY – About 200 people rallied outside the federal building in Syracuse Saturday to protest big government, high taxes, bailouts, the cap-and-trade energy bill, President Barack Obama’s plan to expand government health care programs and more.

    One speaker described the event as a fact-based protest, “not an emotional rah-rah thing.”

    People shared facts and opinions at the microphone and with signs. They wore stars and stripes and some carried upside down American flags, a sign of distress, not disrespect, they said.”

    Only one problem, they don’t have the right to declare a national distress.

    I’m right on topic, GloveR. Work on your reading comprehension.

  20. Although there is protocol in handling the flag, where is the letter writer when every day at almost every school, the flag is wadded up and dropped on the ground? My point? This was not a military memorial/ ceremony- so why didn’t some military offer their insight? Where was the military when the buildings came down? It was the firemen and first responders who were there, let them have their ceremony and memorial. Its not disrespectful, its their moment to express their honor. I think that before we all get nuts over a flag, we first need to remember civility- then the flag and its protocol has more meaning.

  21. Bravo Jess

  22. alindasue says:

    Bravo, Frida.

  23. harleyrider1 says:

    Semper Fi Jess. thanks for the letter.

  24. Thanks for the letter Jess. It Isn’t a surprise that the liberals would disagree. That means you are right. Folks like alindasue don’t get it. She says a flag is a “symbol” then goes on to say we could assign that value to a piece of palstic and it would be worth as much. She outlines perfectly what is wrong with liberalism in her own words, I need not add anymore to them.

  25. Maybe those firefighters could wrap themselves in a flag, and parade around a busy intersection with rubber boots, endangering the public with the distraction of traffic, scrounging for some cash to buy a manual on flag etiquette!

    I just hope while they wrap themselves in it, that they make an attempt to avoid dragging it across the pavement!

    Yes that careless photo peed me off too.

  26. I wonder if anyone thought about putting a beer can in a place of honor to acknowledge the tens of thousands killed on our highways by “home grown terrorists” (drunk drivers).

  27. As far as the liberal whack jobs who find no importance in regarding the symbol of this country with a measure of honor……..

    no, never mind, I cant say that, can’t say anything to them that would not cause a pointless, classic, TNT comment thread battle. Simple silence and the knowledge that they do a fine job of spotlighting their silliness on their own, works well enough for me! ;)

  28. sue1234 says:

    I must admit Im sitting at my computer in my american flag underwear. I hope I dont offend anyone. The flag is a symbol of American values. It is just a symbol and has no inherent meaning other than what is prescribed to it by ‘the people’. It is totally ridiculous to get upset over this use of the flag. Perhaps some of you have just too much time on your hands. For those of you who are married,if you take off your wedding ring are you suddenly not married? Messing with the symbol in no way reflects on the referent of that symbol. May i suggest some google and read up on semiotics.

  29. Thank you for the letter Jess. It did appear their intentions weren’t meant to be irreverant to our flag. A letter like yours reminds us all of what that flag does symbolize. It was unfortunate to have this mishap happen on Memorial Day. That was the part that bothered me most; that they would elect to do this on a day specifically set aside to honor our fallen soldiers; and yeah, draping the beam like it was a coffin was in extremely poor taste in my opinion. I would bet if they could do it again, they would realize how disrespectful it was to our military men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice so liberal s*^& can defame their service and actions daily with the free speech they died to protect. Thank you for your service; and for bringing this very important issue up. The flag does represent our nation in all her glory, and should be treated with the utmost respect.

  30. Roncella says:

    Frosty, Notice its the same far left folks like sue1234, alindasue, who don’t really understand Why Jess is upset about not respecting the American Flag when displaying it.

    All Jess is asking is that if your going to display the flag do so properly, thats all, now thats not really too difficult to understand, unless you lean far left in your thinking.

  31. I’ve made to posts regarding sue1234 and neither have been posted. I guess I’m now excluded from tis board.

  32. Roncella, I’m disappointed that the Tribune censors find my comments to be unworthy, but will post those made by people like sue.

  33. Since it is still legal to burn the flag, all this posturing about the so-called improper use of the flag by well-meaning firemen is close to nonsense. I suspect they did not know the precise rules and not many people do. The rules are somewhat overshadowed by reality in any event.
    I applaud the firemen for the effort they made and the sentiment they were showing.
    Why does the extreme right always have to be so punitive? Must be a genetic defect.

  34. alindasue says:

    Roncella said, “Frosty, Notice its the same far left folks like sue1234, alindasue, who don’t really understand Why Jess is upset about not respecting the American Flag when displaying it.”

    It might interest you to know, Roncella, that in the three decades since I became old enough to vote, I have only voted for one presidential candidate who was a Democrat. Prior to President Obama (who I don’t regret voting for), all the candidates I voted for were Republicans or (during the two terms George W. Bush was running) “third party” candidates.

    TMell said, “It was unfortunate to have this mishap happen on Memorial Day. That was the part that bothered me most; that they would elect to do this on a day specifically set aside to honor our fallen soldiers…”

    I can think of no better day to honor men in uniform who died in the line of duty while serving the people of their country. Not all of our uniformed heroes carry automatic rifles. Some carry fire hoses.

    When Polago (I think it was) asked who came up with the flag rules, I did a little research. In 1923, representatives from the army, the navy, several American Legion and veterans’ groups got together in a conference to establish uniform methods for handling our country’s flag. The code they developed, with some minor modifications became a federal law in 1943, although it was established from the beginning that there were no federal punishments for violating that law.

    Prior to establishing the code, each group had their own different ways of handling the flag. If the army method was different than the navy method, which group was showing disrespect? Could it be that they were both showing equal amounts of respect but in different ways? Of course they were.

    So, the firefighters didn’t take time from their busy schedules to learn all the intricacies of the flag code. There’s also people (maybe even some of you) who hang little flags from your cars on the 4th of July or wave little flags on sticks at a parade. Are all those flags being displayed strictly in accordance with the flag code? Most aren’t. Does that really mean that they are any less patriotic?

    truthbusterguy said, “Can’t we have at least one standard in this country that we all hold in high regard?”

    Yes, we can. We can keep standards of civility in the highest regard. When we quibble about little details like whether a flag is touching a memorial piece of beam or a memorial wood box, we begin to lose sight of those very values that flag is supposed to stand for.

  35. See AlindaSue: you are proving my point. Memorial Day is NOT for firefighters, or cops, or any other public servants. It’s just not. For that matter, it’s not even a day for living service members. It is a day set aside to remember our fallen troops.

    It is obvious these firefighters were not iintending any malice, or intentional disrespect to our fallen troops. It was in poor taste, executed poorly, and Jess has pointed this out, that’s all.

  36. Yet some liberals are now claiming that Palin has violated a law by having a flag painted on the bus she is touring in because they claim she is trying to make money through the use of the bus and the tour. Go figure. I guess when it suits their agenda, it’s o.k. to justify a careless presentation of the flag, but when Palin has one painted on her bus, it’s a crime. If that’s the case, all buses, airlines, trains and any other commercial business should be prohibited from displaying the flag as well.

  37. sue1234 says:

    Roncella.. it is stupid to be upset over a symbol. There are a lot more important things to worry about than the American flag being used inappropriately. If Jess is so damn concerned about the American flag he should be more upset with all the clothing made like American Flags.

    You might be surprised to discover that items, such as paper napkins, mint wrappers, and other disposable items, which have this national emblem on them, are in violation of the Code. Another rule that shocks people is the inability to use the symbol on clothing. It is also not allowed for use in advertisement. OOPSY JESS you better be more upset. The GOPCULT inappropriately uses the flag in propaganda on a daily basis.
    While the sociopath George Bush was president my flag in my yard was flown upside down. The proper use of the flag when our country is imperil.

    Roncella how many funerals for American soldiers killed in action have you personally attended?

    I have been to 32 funerals of soldiers kia and I personally have 3 American flags that were taken off both my grandfather’s casket and my father’s, who died in Viet Nam. All three flags are displayed in my livingroom.

    I DO understand the significance of the American flag, perhaps in more personal ways than you ever will.

    Your shrill and incoherent posts are a violation of rational, educated thinking.

  38. alindasue says:

    TMell said, “See AlindaSue: you are proving my point. Memorial Day is NOT for firefighters, or cops, or any other public servants. It’s just not. For that matter, it’s not even a day for living service members. It is a day set aside to remember our fallen troops.”

    TMell, that is exactly the opposite of what I said.

    I said, “I can think of no better day to honor men in uniform who died in the line of duty while serving the people of their country.”

    Those firefighters and policemen who died that day did so in the line of duty while serving the people of their country. On memorial day, I honor their sacrifice as well.

  39. alindasue says:

    frosty said, “If that’s the case, all buses, airlines, trains and any other commercial business should be prohibited from displaying the flag as well.”

    IF we stick strictly to the flag code, as some of you seem to be insisting everyone do, then yes, that WOULD be the case, wouldn’t it?

  40. Thank you for re-stating the point I made above……as you have in your last post.

  41. alindasue says:

    TMell said, “Thank you for re-stating the point I made above……as you have in your last post.”

    I’m not going to continue arguing the point with you, since you obviously aren’t listening.

    I know that what I said was opposite to what you keep saying I said. We’ll leave it at that.

  42. Publico says:

    Draping the beam was an attempt to honor those who died beneath it. The symbolical importance was missed by those whose closed minds mimic myopia. They are always perfect in everything they do though.

  43. “It Isn’t a surprise that the liberals would disagree”.

    Which of course they don’t, but lets not let the truth get in your way of another hate filled rant.

  44. “Can’t we have at least one standard in this country that we all hold in high regard?”

    It used to be freedom, why can’t you on the right hold THAT in high regard anymore?

  45. Frosty,
    Disappearing posts are not always the work of the nanny. I’ve had several posts get sent to the ‘already said that file’ and never make it to the blog.

  46. Sue:
    Did you seriously fly your flag upside down when GWB was in office? You have to be kidding, which I totally understand. I’ll wait for your response prior to posting my opinion of you if you really flew it upside down…..

  47. AlindaSue: you are entitled to honor whomever you want to on Memorial day. I choose to recognize this day as it was intended-for our fallen troops. On 9/11, I will somberly reflect on the sacrifices that our police officers and firefighters have made, and continue to make protecting us domestically. It does not lessen their sacrifice, but I choose to honor our fallen service members on Memorial Day.

  48. sue1234 says:

    Tme, l I most certainly flew my flag upside down during the Bush years.

  49. Roncella says:

    alindasue, in sharing your profound history of honoring past Military heros who gave their lifes for their Country, its all the more difficult to understand why you can’t accept the fact that Jess might be upset at how the flag was being displayed.

  50. Sue: You disgust me! It doesn’t really surprise me; given the socialist bent of most of your postings…..I thank your relatives who were true patriots for their service, and for their sacrifice which allows you to do whatever disrespectful things(like flying your flag upside down) to our nation and the flag that symbolizes our nation.

  51. alindasue says:

    Roncella, “alindasue, in sharing your profound history of honoring past Military heros who gave their lifes for their Country, its all the more difficult to understand why you can’t accept the fact that Jess might be upset at how the flag was being displayed.”

    Mr. Torres, in his nit-picking about following the flag code to the letter, lost sight of the fact that those firefighters were honoring their fellow men in uniform who lost their lives in the service of their country. Whether it be an Army uniform, a firefighter’s uniform, or a Coast Guard uniform it is still the same. Those people put their lives on the line to protect the American people – and the firefighter’s they were honoring paid the ultimate price in doing so.

    The flag code is great for military ceremonies and Boy Scouts events, but in real life it’s not always that neat. People hang flags from their cars; children wave (and frequently drop) little plastic flags at Independence Day celebrations; people proudly wear flag patches on their hats – all in violation of the flag code. That doesn’t mean they are any less patriotic.

    Heck, even the iconic flag that was raised in Iwo Jima was just strapped to a piece of sewer pipe with a couple pieces of wire. That doesn’t make that flag raising any less iconic.

    When I salute the flag, it is not the piece of cloth that I am saluting. It is the people and ideals that piece of cloth symbolizes that I salute. My taking care in handling the flag is out of respect for those people and ideals, not the piece of cloth.

    That is why I find Mr. Torres’s letter so wrong at this time. This wasn’t a case of some group mishandling the flag at some flag ceremony. This was a case of firefighters honoring men who put their lives on the line protecting Americans as we were being attacked and died in the line of duty. They died in service to their country and, as was appropriate, they were honored on Memorial Day. Mr. Torres’s nit-picking detracts from that honor.

  52. While I agree that there could have been more attention paid to the handling of the flag, I disagree that it was “shameful dishonor” or an insult. In a great speech at the Twin Towers, Bush pointed out that there were members of the military in uniform who were at their posts in the Twin Towers who were killed in the line of duty.

    Since many bodies have never been found or identified, the remaining steel of the buildings has taken on a status of coffin or grave for the fallen, and has been treated as such. I have no problem with the steel being covered by the flag just like a coffin would have been ev en during transport.

    The flag used in the ceremony should now be burned because of its contact with the ground. The steel beam should have been placed on a pedestal or a smaller flag used so the flag would not have been touching the ground.

    I appreciate the service of the letter writer and his points about proper flag etiquette. I disagree with the tone of the letter and the hyperbole of the statement that the treatment of the flag during the ceremony was an “insult to everything this nations stands for” (sic).

    Our flag is a symbol, and how we treat each other and the respect we give each other as fellow citizens is far more important than any accidental misstep in flag etiquette.

  53. alindasue says:

    tuddo said, “The flag used in the ceremony should now be burned because of its contact with the ground.”

    The flag doesn’t necessarily need to be burned just because it touched the ground. According to the code, a flag that has touched the ground should be cleaned if it is soiled.

    Only when a flag has worn beyond the point that it can’t be displayed as a dignified symbol of our country is it supposed to be “destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.”

    http://www.usflag.org/

  54. alindasue, you are so right. I am a victim of my old Boy Scout Handbook which perpetuated this myth about burning after it touched the ground. I looked at it before commenting. It is dated from the early 1940’s long before there was a unified flag code which was established in 1971.

    It has a neat Norman Rockwell cover with the three different scouts –
    Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Sea Scout. I thought it would be really valuable by now, but so many of them were printed, it is just a memory for me.

  55. KARDNOS says:

    tuddo…..you and me both. I guess that just goes to show that rules can change, thus our Constitution should be a living breathing piece of work that is adaptable to change, without the expense of major legislation.

    Some traditions and rules are just plain archaic, not to mention misrepresented for political purposes

  56. Roncella says:

    It really is amazing how some far left liberals will bend the rules to suit their beliefs of the moment.

    Jess writes a simple letter about following the rules and showing respect for the Flag and the left wants to twist and bend and circumvent the intent of his letter about handling the flag respectfully.

    There are guild lines for how and when to properly display the flag, follow them, thats it, the end, Amen.

  57. Jess didn’t simply write a letter about following the rules and showing respect for the flag, Roncella. Jess’s letter was an indictment of anyone who doesn’t follow proper flag etiquette, when he says, “I refer to the shameful dishonor to our nation’s flag.”

    He’s way over the top when he says, “To do otherwise is a dishonor and insult to everything this nations stands for.”

    According to Jess, if I let the flag touch the ground, I’ve dishonored and insulted everything this nation stands for. Thinking people know better than that, Roncella.

  58. Roncella says:

    Polago, as I already stated far left liberals want to twist and turn everything Jess said in his very short letter about displaying the Flag properly

    . You are a perfect example of one of those far left liberals.

    This is not about thinking people, this just plain old fashioned using a little common sense and respect when displaying the flag,

    I repeat, there are rules and guidelines about how to fly the flag, follow them, thats it, the End, Amen.

  59. Roncella, not everything has to be about “far left liberals”. Common sense, respect, yes, but if one sees a minor infraction of the rules, from well-meaning actions and it makes his “blood boil”, then there is something going on that is more than asking people to follow the flag code.

    If one thinks that what we saw in Gig Harbor was “shameful dishonor” and so easily dismisses the accidental missteps as “a dishonor and insult to everything this nations stands for,” then I guess he doesn’t think this nation stands for much.

    I try to educate people at ball games by example when, as a veteran, I salute the flag even in civilian clothes and ask my guests to place their hands over their hearts if they are just standing, since those are also the rules. However, my blood doesn’t boil and I don’t accuse people of dishonoring my nation, even though just standing at attention is not what the code says to do.

  60. Roncella says:

    Tuddo, its great to hear someone respects the flag properly.

    However, Jess wrote a letter making a simple request, Display the Flag Properly and went on to explain how and when etc.

    Why can’t the far left on this post just accept his letter as a good reminder on Flag edicate and leave it at that ?

    There are rules and procedures in displaying the flag properly, Everyone should follow them.

  61. Roncella? Maybe – maybe not. Its certainly not anything to get nuts over. Not everyone is in the military, nor is every kid in cub scouts. I also do not think the schools are the place to teach flag etiquete when the custodians constantly wad them up and drop them on the ground. And yes, I do take a second look when people do not remove their hats during our national anthem – but lets put it in perspective- the national anthem’s melody was a british bar hymn before FS Key placed the lyrics. Do I say the pledge? No I do not- but I stand silently and respectfully during it and the anthem. Are you aware that the pledge’s author was an advocate for a socialist state? Leftist you think? This was a civil ceremony honoring the fallen civil servants on 9/11 and not a military ceremony. There was no disrespect and since our country is a free country and not a fascist military state- then we shouldn’t expect everyone to act according to military code.

  62. …………..with liberty and justice for all.

  63. Haa! I’ll bet a buck that “sue1234″ has one of those “I wont shop at Wal-Mart” sticker stuck on the back of a Volvo!

    Everytime I see one of those I think….So? :D

    You really went to the trouble to fly the flag upside down for eight years?!

    Amazing the trouble people will go to to make a point that no one cares about!

  64. letsworkitout says:

    Flying the flag upside down for 8 years? She knows that the President is only one man in the government who wields 1/3 the power (less really if consider the implications of each branch), right? Too much blame/praise is assigned to that office, no matter who is in there.

  65. letsworkitout, I think the reason she was flying the flag upside down for eight years was to broadcast to the world that she is in dire need of pyschological help, apparently no one noticed.

  66. I also served our country as an officer in the Air Force for 13 years, and I find myself in near complete disagreement with Mr Torres’ letter. While I agree that there were some technical violations of the flag code, there was absolutely no disrespect involved.

    The flag is a symbol. It stands for the ideals that made this nation. It can withstand the touch of the ground, or of a piece of steel or rope. It can withstand the incessant partisan bickering over who is more respectful or disrespectful towards the flag, the country, the people. It can withstand pointless arguments about whether a particular day honors only those who died in combat or all those who died in the line of duty. It can withstand being used in protests by we, the people it represents, as well as by those around the world who hate and fear the spread of our nation’s ideals.

    The spirit of that symbol we call the flag is far more than a collection of rules laid out telling us how we ought to treat that symbol. The GH firemen’s use of the flag may not have exactly followed those rules, but it certainly followed the spirit.

    And, for the record, I am a moderate/centrist voter, who has voted for both Republican, Democrat, and third-party candidates. I am neither left-wing nor right-wing. I have been part of many flag retirement ceremonies, as a Scout and as a leader. I handle the flag with respect, I stand and salute the flag appropriately at events, and I firmly believe that civility and adult discussions are far closer to the spirit of our ideals than the name-calling and antagonistic bickering that is displayed in this (and many other) comment thread…

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