June 14 was Flag Day. How many older generation Americans can remember the history of Old Glory? How many Americans will be cognizant that this Sunday is in fact Flag Day? How many educational institutions, self-proclaimed elitists, and politically correct activists will consider the mention of Flag Day as "offensive" to the disenfranchised, the envious, or to foreign students?
Desecration of Old Glory is protected as "free speech"; desecration of a Bald Eagle’s nest will land your sorry behind in jail. The bird is protected; our nation’s flag is not. Deliberately destroying a creature as gracious and beautiful as our national emblem should be a crime, but with all due respect for the American Bald Eagle, I’m not aware of one soldier who paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep our emblem soaring. However, far too many citizen soldiers have fought and died to keep our nation’s flag flying.
In 1782, the Continental Congress recognized the American Bald Eagle as our national emblem. The Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940 gave our national emblem legal protection which was expanded in 1962 to include the Golden Eagle. A first offense is punishable by a maximum $5000.00 fine and/or one year in jail. A second offense is punishable by a maximum fine of $10,000.00 and/or two years in jail. A third offense, be it citizen or corporation, can easily reach hundreds of thousands of dollars plus jail time.
Yet our flag, paid for in blood, sacrifice, and courage can and is stomped on, spit on, urinated on, and burnt to ashes, all under the guise of "free speech" for alleged injustices, but more likely to gain attention, not to a cause, but to the individual. The arguments against a law to protect the flag borders on the ridiculous to childish immaturity. Actual statements defending desecration of Old Glory: “To properly dispose of the flag, we burn it, so what’s the difference?” “If a 5 year old child colors the flag on a piece of paper then tosses the paper in a trash can, are you going to arrest the child? Are you going to arrest the parents?” “Which flag are you going to protect?... the first American flag, all the others in our history, the flag we have today?”
Petty arguments from petty people. The most recognized photo in the world is of six Marines raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. Three of those Marines never made it off the island, but when they raised the flag Marines cheered, ship horns bellowed, Navy planes dipped their wings in respect, and entrenched Japanese soldiers realized their battle was lost. Where Old Glory flies, freedom stands a chance; where Old Glory burns, true freedom is in jeopardy.
Pete Mecca is a Vietnam veteran, columnist and freelance writer. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or aveteransstory.us.