JUST A PIECE OF CLOTH?

Posted: January 12, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

This week I heard the story of an English teacher in South Carolina taking an American Flag from its’ stand and stomping on it and explained to his honor’s class that the flag was only pieces of dyed cloth with no true meaning. He did this not once but three times with the consequences being the same; the students didn’t like it one bit. The teacher made three tactical blunders. First he desecrated a symbol of the United States of America and the men and women who built this great nation with their sweat and blood. The second mistake the teacher made was to pick a school that was located in the school district that contains Fort Stewart, the boot camp and training grounds for the U.S Army. Lastly, the teacher’s superintendant was a 20 year retired Army veteran. Not a real smart move and at the time of this writing it appears that the suspended teacher will be terminated.
When I heard the story of the flag stomping I was sickened. Over the years I saw flag burnings on television and was angered that we could do nothing about it. This symbol of America was of such importance that radicals in foreign countries saw the burning as a symbol of indignation toward our country. For this to happen within the borders of the United States was even more revolting. Unfortunately the teacher has every right to express his opinion in this manner; such is the freedom allowed by the first amendment of our constitution; but I still don’t have to like it and kudos to the students that expressed their feelings.
This flag represents so much to the heritage of this country. When I first arrived in Saudi Arabia we lived near the U.S Consulate. On my first shopping trip to Al Khobar the bus passed the Consulate. It was an emotional high when I looked out the window and saw Ole Glory flying from within the walls of the consulate grounds. I couldn’t explain the feeling but perhaps being in a foreign country and separate from the United States had something to do with it or perhaps it was the symbol of freedom that it represents that made me so proud.
The origin of the flag goes all the way back to the beginning of our country. The first authorized flag from the Continental Congress was commissioned to fly on American ships. Stars were not included until 1776. Since then there have been 38 different flags to represent our country. There are 13 stripes on the flag to represent the original 13 colonies that formed our fledgling country. The stars that are positioned on a field of blue each represent one state.
In 1958 I remember several proposed new flag designs that commemorated the addition of Hawaii and Alaska as our 49th and 50th states. These designs were presented in our Weekly Reader paper that we would get every week in elementary school. The final selection resembled the flag that contained 48 stars and had flown over our country for 47 years.
The design of the flag was open to any American that wanted to submit a design. Seventeen year old Robert Heft submitted his design as a school project. He received a B- and jokingly had agreement from his teacher that if his submittal was accepted as our new flag, the grade was changed to an “A”. The teacher honored the agreement when the submittal was accepted.
The symbol of our country has been carried into battle in one manner of the other in every war America was engaged in. Whether it was flying from a standard bearer with the Infantry, from a halyard on a ship, streaming from a mounted calvaryman or sewn on the sleeve, The Stars and Stripes was there. Over 850,000 men and women died under these colors while representing our country. Just a piece of colored fabric, I don’t think so.

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