Editorial: Our flag first
May 22, 2010
When did the American flag become something to be ashamed of?
In the Editorial Board's opinion, it hasn't and never will be.
But, two of many recent examples of what board members believe is disrespect to the flag paint a picture that lead us to believe maybe ours is becoming the minority opinion.
The incidents, quite simply, boggle the mind and are insulting to patriotic Americans.
The first stems from an incident in Morgan Hill, Calif.
Four teens were disciplined for wearing American flag clothing on Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday.
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According to reports, the students were asked to either change their clothes or turn them inside out; administrators believed the clothing could incite a confrontation with Hispanic students.
The students did not change their clothes or turn them inside out. They were sent home with an unexcused absence.
Good for them, Editorial Board members contend. They stood up for their convictions and their First Amendment right.
Next comes the U.S. government's decision not to fly the American flag in Haiti, where a massive American-led assistance effort has been underway since the country was devastated by an earthquake in January.
The government has stated that flying the flag could give the impression that the U.S. is an occupying force, rather than one focused on humanitarian relief efforts.
These are just two of the incidents that go viral, horror stories of American disrespect that reach the masses at desks, water coolers and dinner tables through the Internet and the sensationalist words of cable news talking heads.
Hysteria aside, there's something rightful about the indignation Americans feel about these condemnations of our flag.
It's nothing new to see the flag tarnished, trashed and burned in places where America's enemies are many. And, our country has certainly seen anti-flag demonstrations on our home soil.
But, as the incidents cited above attest, when has anti-American flag sentiment been so overt in fundamentally American institutions like schools and the government?
If patriotism can't exist there, isn't it doomed to fail everywhere else?
Editorial board members — and we're willing to bet most of you out there in this community — have always been under the belief the American flag represents liberty, freedom, and a land of opportunity.
This board certainly appreciates those gifts, and is eternally grateful, and so should everyone else who lives in this country.
In short, our flag comes first.
No matter the circumstances, a lesson Morgan Hill administrators should take note of, as well as those in the power seats of our government who benched the flag in Haiti.
Many good men and women, people far better than those making the anti-flag decisions of late, died for those once-cherished stars and stripes, those noble colors of red, white and blue.
The flag itself doesn't ask for respect.
The sacrifices of those who have protected it in the past and who protect it today do. It's the least we as Americans should give them.