Tuesday, June 14, 2005

In Honor of the American Flag

US Flag

Today is Flag Day in the United States of America, celebrating the proud legacy of the Stars and Stripes, that universally recognizable symbol of American values.

The red stripes symbolize valor, especially the valor of the brave men and women who have, over nearly 229 years, shed their blood for our liberty. The white stripes symbolize purity and righteousness, a commitment to do what is right rather than what is expedient. The blue field represents loyalty, sincerity, justice, and vigilance in seeking truth. The stars represent the sovereign states that comprise our nation.

It is always important, though, to emphasize the words symbolize and represent in speaking of the Flag. The flag stands for our Republic. The flag itself is just a piece of cloth, no more (nor less) important than a dishrag; it is the Freedom that the flag symbolizes that we must cherish.

Just as a parent would never dream of sacrificing a child in order to save a photograph of that child, neither must we as a nation ever sacrifice our freedom in the name of the flag. The thirteen stripes and fifty stars also represent diversity and pluralism, freedom of conscience, and freedom of expression.

As distasteful a statement as flag burning is, it must always remain legal if the Freedom that the flag represents is to have any meaning at all. If you see someone burning an American flag in a protest, what should you do? My answer is that you should salute the flag as it gives its life to protect the freedom it represents, because if freedom doesn't include the right to burn a mere symbol, it isn't freedom at all. Those politicians who wrap themselves in the flag and pander to voices who would outlaw flag burning, betray the very principles they claim to uphold.

For more information on the Flag of the United States of America, check out USFlag.org's web site.