It’s sad to see a lack of respect for the U.S. flag

Published 7:28 am Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I wasn’t in Scouting for very long — I only made it through Webelos and then our local school-based troop shut down due to a lack of interest. However, in those few years that I did take part, I remember one particular lesson that continues to stick with me. It had nothing to do with camping, or tying knots, or helping little old ladies cross the street. It was about showing respect to the U.S. flag.

I remember several meetings where we practiced folding the flag the correct way to store it. I remember taking a test where we were asked questions such as “Should the flag be used to cover a podium?” or “In a line of flags, which one should be the American flag?” It was obvious that caring for the U.S. flag was very important to the Scouting organization.

That’s why I was disgusted by two stories that I saw recently. One involved the rapper Lil Wayne, who was filmed apparently trampling on the American flag while shooting a music video for his new “song,” “God Bless Amerika.” Wayne has since said that he wasn’t stepping on the flag, but instead “It’s a scene in a video where the flag drops behind me and after it drops it’s just there as I perform.” So, either Wayne was stomping on the U.S. flag, or he didn’t stomp on it, but still purposefully allowed it to touch the ground. Either way, it’s a major violation of the U.S. Flag Code, and an absolute insult to every military veteran who has fought for our beloved Old Glory.

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However, to tell you the truth, I don’t really care about Lil Wayne. He’s a moron. I am more concerned by another story, where the Home and Garden Television Network placed a “Simply Chic Fourth of July Entertaining Ideas” slideshow on its website. One of the suggestions was to “drape a large American flag over the table as a bright and festive table runner …”

Allow me to catch my breath. One second.

What in the world were they thinking!?

I just can’t believe that any editor allowed that to get published. The U.S. flag is not a tablecloth! I have even heard some people argue that the flag design shouldn’t be used in decoration, period. Any shirt that has a stars-and-stripes pattern? Any bunting with the design? A T-shirt with a U.S. flag drawn on the front? Many people think they’re just as insulting.

I don’t know if I would go quite that far, but I do know that treating the flag as a tablecloth or mere decoration is absolutely asinine. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who say that “it’s just a symbol,” or “it’s just a piece of fabric,” but that’s just not true. It is perhaps the greatest physical manifestation of the freedoms and ideals that make our country great. It’s why I applaud groups like the city of Climax, who give our flag the proper respect by revering it through events like their annual Flag Day celebration.

I think one commenter on the HGTV website’s Facebook page put it best: “Using an American flag as a tablecloth dishonors all Americans who love Old Glory — especially those who gave their lives defending it.

“No one dies for a tablecloth.”