The following is a letter from a reader...
I have grown up knowing about duty, honor, respect for authority.
My father served in the military, my brother served in the military
and I still serve in the military. I have been serving this great
nation for almost 13 years.
Each day I drive by several institutions that fly our nation's colors. Every
day as I see the flag fly it reminds me of where our nation has been and
where it is going. The other day I drove home and passed a flag that was
flying upside down. My first thought was..."Is someone under distress?" I
shook it off and turned towards my house. Something deep inside my thoughts
were telling me to turn the car around. I turned the car around and headed
to the institution to see what was the matter. I get out of my car in
uniform and approach the front door. When I walk in the building, no one
greeted me with a "Hello". I approached the front counter and stated who I
was and why I was there. They stated that they were not under distress, so I
asked them if they could get someone to fix their flag. Surely it was flying
like that by mistake. Confident that I did my duty for the country, I walked
away. This morning I drove past that same institution and the flag was not
fixed properly. I don't want to presume what that tells me about the
organization, however it does state that some people in this country do not
take the flag as serious as I do.
This led me to my research on the laws for the flag. "A separate provision contained
in the Federal Criminal Code established criminal penalties for certain treatment of the flag.
Prior to 1989, this provision provided criminal penalties for certain acts of desecration to
the flag. In response to the Supreme Court decision in Texas v. Johnson (which held that
anti-desecration statutes are unconstitutional if aimed at suppressing one type of expression),
Congress enacted the Flag Protection Act of 1989 to provide criminal penalties for certain acts
which violate the physical integrity of the flag.
This law imposed a fine and/or up to one year in prison for knowingly mutilating,
defacing, physically defiling, maintaining on the floor, or trampling upon any flag of the United States.
In 1990, however, the Supreme Court held that the Flag Protection Act was unconstitutional as applied to
burning the flag in a public protest."
There may not be legal ramifications to the mistreatment of the flag however
that shouldn't stop us from educating one another of the Flag Code. As any
good military member, we will aggressively protect the flag against those
that are against her. In turn, we will humbly approach its citizens that she
flies over and tell them of her stories. Hopefully the citizens of the
United States will hear our voices and follow the Flag Code. May she always
wave as a symbol of our strength and unity.
Just had to get this off my chest.