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Our Flag...My Point of View

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by Ann Ferguson

As a proud citizen I treasure our flag as a symbol of all of the many things I hold dear about our nation. For me our flag is not a mere design on a piece of fabric. It is a sacred banner of who we are and what we stand for as a people--ideals of decency, opportunity, hope, freedom, and fairness are woven into the strands of every flag I see. The sight of our flag gives me feelings of pride, respect and a sense of awe.

As a child I was taught to treat our flag as something precious--the flag should never be mishandled or allowed to touch the ground. When our flag passes in a parade, you are to stand and salute or hold your hand over your heart--men remove their hats as an extra measure of recognition. I wonder if children are given these guidelines today or is there no time in a schedule already crowded with mandated programs on today's hot button issues.

I believe my feelings about our flag are shared by most Americans. Yet a small number of cowardly protestors have defiled our flag and are using one of the liberties the flag stands for as an excuse for their despicable acts.

When as a nation did we make the wrong turn to ban all evidence of faith and godliness from public places, especially the public schools, while we protect desecration of our symbols of national pride?

Students are prohibited from using a religious topic for an assigned paper, but others who tear up and spit at this country's flag are exercising a protected right. Where did we go wrong? Who led us down this dangerous pathway? Are we strong enough to change the direction?

Political leaders and the news media decry the violence in schools and in the young in our society as a whole. But it is they who have written the forecast--by endorsing and protecting selected acts of violence as freedom of expression. It is but a small step from trashing a symbol to smashing a person--under the misguided belief that if you can get away with one act of destruction, the other must also be excused.

One step to change the direction would be passage of a Flag Protection Amendment which has been introduced in the United States Senate. Titled Senate Joint Resolution 14, this amendment to date has the support of 58 senators.

If you share my point of view, call Senator Mikulski at 202/224-4654 and state you want her to support SJR 14 or write to her at 709 Hart Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510 and call Senator Sarbanes at 202/224-4524 or write to him at 309 Hart Office Building, Washington, D. C. 20510. 

In a perfect world our flag would not need an act of the Congress to protect it. The devotion of the people it represents would be its protection, but we are not in a perfect world. If we are strong enough to take the first step in reversing the downward spiral of our present direction it will be a beginning.

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