Ban on flag burning counters freedoms banner represents

Posted: Monday, June 09, 2003

It never quite goes away, this obsession with mandating respect for the American flag. Fresh off a war in Iraq, Congress is at it again, this time considering a Flag Desecration Amendment that would make it a federal crime to burn or desecrate that symbol as an act of protest. A vote may come up in the House tomorrow.

... Loathsome as flag burning and its practitioners may be, Old Glory is nothing more than a piece of dyed cloth. What gives it value are the principles it symbolizes, which are spelled out in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution. ...

It has long been a source of great pride that those rights are so strong, so firmly imbedded in our collective psyche, so unique to this great nation one founded not on ethnicity or religious preference or birthright but on a set of ideals that they could withstand any assault.

Any veteran who served in Iraq or in Afghanistan or anywhere else who tells you he fought for the stars and stripes sincere though he may be, much as his sacrifice is appreciated is mistaken. What millions of veterans have taken up arms to defend, what hundreds of thousands have died for, is the preservation of those ideals, those freedoms, included among them, ironic as it may seem, the right to burn that flag. ...

Journal Star

Peoria, Ill.

June 2

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