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Literally Cutting the American Flag

from southplattesentinel.com
from southplattesentinel.com

A tattered or faded American Flag is ready for retirement. Retiring an American flag means to burn it. Some people feel that burning a flag, no matter the situation, is still disrespectful. In the flag retirement situation, nothing could be further from the truth.

Burning and Burning
There is a big difference! Americans, who love their country and flag, do not treat that flag with disrespect. We do not just throw it away in the garbage when it is no longer fit for everyday display. There are exceptions to this with historic tattered flags on display across the country. When the flag is no longer suitable for daily display, we take the flag, fold it into a rectangle, and burn it. Some Americans feel the need to burn our country’s flag because they are unable to form a cogent, coherent argument and need to stand on a corner in front of others and push their disrespectful agenda in the face of others by flying a burning American flag.

from conservativepost.com
from conservativepost.com

Side note: I support freedom of speech and some view burning our flag as just that. I will defend the right of people who want to act irresponsibly and burn our flag. I do not like the action, but I do not have to watch and I can treat flags in my charge with respect and care as I hope you will.

The difference? Respect has everything to do with it.

Flag Retirement the Wrong Way

from coladaily.com
from coladaily.com

If you cut the stars from the stripes, it’s not longer the American flag and you can then feel better about burning it. I guess that is the illogical reasoning behind this act of initial disrespect to the flag to avoid disrespect to the flag.

from gps.edu
from gps.edu

Boy and Girl Scouts and many veteran organizations across the country are practicing this disrespect to our flag.

I do not know when or where it started, but it needs to stop right now! We need to educate cadets and Scouts as well as our well-meaning veterans.

Recently, I read a reply to my comment on a social media account that stated ‘since a flag company says on their website that it is OK, we are going to cut our flags.

Flag Retirement, the Correct Way
At home, make a fire on your grill. Fold your flag into a rectangle (no, it does not represent a casket) and place it on the fire. A flag folded into a triangle is much more difficult to burn due to all of the folded layers.

from democraticunderground.com
from democraticunderground.com

In a public ceremony, place the representative flag, folded in a triangle on a very hot fire and follow one of the ceremony guidelines linked below. Burn the rest of the flags eligible for retirement in an incinerator or a roaring fire, preferably not in public.

from democraticunderground.com
from democraticunderground.com

The National Flag Foundation’s Flag Retirement Ceremony

Click here to read the American Legion’s Unserviceable Flag Retirement Ceremony adopted in 1937.

As you can see, no one has ever advocated cutting the canton (blue field) from the stripes. It is extremely disrespectful to do so and it does not matter what some flag-based website has to say as far as a recommendation. Not even this one. I am providing links to professional guidance set forth by groups with the intention of providing the utmost respect.

Associated article: Disrespect to the American Flag

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Disrespect to the American Flag

Flag ceremonyBurning the America Flag
We, as Americans burn our beloved flag when it is old, worn and tattered. We burn it in a special Flag Retirement Ceremony. As a matter of fact, in many cities across America, scout and veteran groups take in flags for this specific purpose. They will ceremonially burn one flag representing all of the others (sometimes hundreds), and then incinerate the rest. This is a great way to show respect for Old Glory.

While I was on the Base Honor Guard at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona, (before the internet) I had a local woman call and explain that she had cleaned out her grill so that she could burn her own worn out American flag. She was very concerned and wanted to make sure that she was doing everything correctly. I assured her that what she had done was fine and thanked her for her diligence and respect and that it was what was in her heart that mattered and that it was quite obvious that she had every intention of utmost repsect. There is, however, another way to burn the flag.

American-flag-burningThe young man pictured at right is burning the American flag in protest. Many veterans and patriotic Americans find this so reprehensible that they support a Constitutional Amendment to make the act a crime. I do not support an amendment. You might be wondering how on earth, after 20+ years in the Air Force and JROTC/ROTC, etc. could I possibly say that? Freedom of speech.

“Don’t give me that ‘freedom of speech’ line!”
It is freedom of speech to burn the American flag. At least some see it that way. I, in no way, support burning the flag in protest, ever. I believe that those who do burn the flag most likely are unable to articulate their concerns and resort to such an inflammatory (no pun intended) action only to gain immediate publicity. Flag burning does nothing but make a large section of the American public dislike the people and their cause for which the crass action was committed. There are better ways to exercise your First Amendment rights, much better ways.

Upside down flagThe upside down flag
There is a short video of two protesters on a scooter riding around with the flag upside down [language] and a Soldier and Marine run after them wanting to do them physical harm. While I understand the passion these two military men have for their flag and country, what they did was not what America is about.

Upside down flagYou can see in these pictures, that even members and veterans of America’s military use the upside down flag- a symbol of distress and NOT disrespect– as a way to show their concern for America. I support this. I do not support writing on the flag unless absolutely necessary- but I cannot think of an instance where it may be necessary.

Lastly, on upside down flags, toward the end of the movie, The Last Castle, the commander of the military prison yells out something like, “don’t let them disrespect the flag!” as the prisoners are attempting, and rightfully so, to raise the flag upside down. I do not remember if the flag is actually raised, but it should be, in my opinion- watch the movie, it is quite good. The point here is that popular knowledge is usually based on information like this and then couples with the pride that swells in the hearts of the patriotic. All without basis in truth.

Upside down flagDisrespect to the flag is against the law!
No, it is not. Whether it is urban legend or just a lack of education on the subject, one can wipe their feet with the Stars and Stripes, if one so chooses, in front of the police and not be taken into custody.

I have written all kinds of articles regarding the proper use and display of our flag and have researched all the information I could find. While I do not expect every American to fully know all of the Flag Code and what guidance each branch of our armed forces has published, I do hope that Americans, especially my military brothers and sisters, read up and understand this published guidance.

 

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Disgraceful use of the American Flag

Disgraceful use of the American Flag:

I have quite a bit of information on my website detailing how to properly use and dispose of an American flag. There are other websites that have similar information and then there are the government websites that have the full text of the US Flag Code. Having said all that, I’m not going to repeat myself or the other websites. Americans need to learn what the proper use of the flag actually is. Granted, many Americans hold Old Glory dear in their hearts and have the best intentions. However, some flagrantly disregard the Flag Code and think “cute” or “breathtaking” pictures are OK. They are not and I’m calling you out as of now. This will be an ongoing post so if you have any kind of picture to submit, please let me know and I’ll put it up right away. Don’t forget to state who the photographer is or, if the photographer is you and you are showing an improper display, let me know the company.

Our first entry: This is by Julia Carlson Baby Photography. While I love the composition and lighting of the photograph, the Flag Code states that the American flag shall not be used as a receptacle for anything, Mrs’ Carlson. Please take this photo off of your site! And you, Marine (Lt?), are you that unaware? Did your training fail you?

Marine and Baby- Disgraceful use of flag
Marine and Baby- Disgraceful use of flag