Letter: Don Hill Letter to the Editor

What is the American Flag?

To the editor:

Thinking about National Flag Day approaching on Friday, I started putting my thoughts together about exactly what is the American Flag?

Is it the plastic or cloth lawn flag that I put out four times a year in the Lincoln Park condo area; is it the small hand flag that we wave during a parade; is it the lapel pin that is worn with pride; is it the design on one’s shirt or sewn on a uniform; is it the one printed in the newspaper; or maybe the icing designed flag on the fourth of July picnic cake? Does it have to be one flying from the flagpole in our front yards or businesses?

These become questions which arise when the laws of desecration come up. We cut the cake and eat it; we recycle the newspaper; we trash the worn out, soiled one that, after the holiday, lay in the dirt in our front yard. No one would consider this desecration.

But then if one would take that cake in a crowd of people and stomp their foot in it; if they held up a lawn flag and set a match to it, then I would say they are desecrating the flag. It would be hard to argue it in a court of law.

The United States Flag Code adopted in 1923 spells out hundreds of rules on what the flag is and how it must be handled and displayed. Unknowingly we do not always follow these rules to the letter, not because of disrespect, but simply because there are so many rules it is hard for anyone to follow.

Yes, whatever we call them; symbols, colors, standards, insignias or flags, they can all be destroyed either disrespectfully or respectively. But in truth, maybe none of these are the true American Flag.

To me the true American Flag is here, within me. It is within every American who appreciates freedom. The American Flag flows through our blood making it red, it pumps our heart as we sing the National Anthem; it moves our muscles to rise us up and moves our hand over our heart when the flag passes by; it brings tears to our eyes when we think about those who gave their lives protecting our freedoms. That is the true American Flag and that cannot be destroyed.

The Elks Lodge will perform the Flag Day ceremonies on the Elks patio next to Bullwinkles restaurant at 11 a.m. Friday, and I will be giving the history of our flag along with other flag stories. The presentation of a new flag will be part of the national ceremony.

I encouraged everyone to attend, but especially the youth since they are the ones who will carry the responsibilities of the future. Scout troops, Sunday school and other organizational groups can take part in the ceremonies. Seating is furnished.

 Don Hill