An Open Letter to the Flag Burners
Let me first say I am a true believer in free speech. Anyone who knows me well would wholeheartedly agree. I enjoy the freedom of healthy debate and discussion. So if far more learned men and women have ruled that abusing our country’s flag is a constitutional right, then so be it. But just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. I’m going to ask those of you out there burning it, not raising it, defiling it- to stop. And now said in my strongest, fiercest, firmest Momma voice,”STOP IT NOW!”
As I am writing this I have spent hours on and off consoling my youngest child. She is sweet and tenderhearted. Her blue eyes with insanely long lashes are swollen from tears that have flowed down past her round cheeks and soaked the collar of her pink pajama shirt. Her blond hair that frames the curve of her face doesn’t shine tonight; it’s dark and damp from the love that swelled up from her heart and poured out through her eyes.
Why is she crying? What could bring such distress to one so young and carefree?
Her sister’s leave has ended and she heads off tomorrow to her next assignment. My little one thinks her big sister has hung the moon. She admires her big sister. She is devoted to her big sister. She LOVES her big sister. And at the ripe old age of seven, she is beginning to understand what sacrifice means. She knows that her sister has made a commitment to defend our country.
The flag is not just an archaic symbol made out of red, white and blue materials. It is the worldwide recognized emblem, the visual embodiment of being The United States of America. Sure I could try reminding you countless men and women have died defending our country, so you have the freedom to burn Old Glory, but I don’t think that matters to you. I honestly can’t wrap my brain around what sense of satisfaction desecrating our flag brings you.
I’m not going to call you names or hurl insults at you. I’m just going to ask you to please stop. I’m sorry you feel so angry, misunderstood and frightened that you feel the need to have, well, what appears to be an adult tantrum. Clearly life has brought you to a point of very little hope in holding onto the belief that we are a country united. But make no mistake we are the United States of America. I’m proud to be an American. Not a hyphenated American; let’s throw out the hyphen and just be Americans. When I stand in awe of the Stars and Stripes blowing in the wind, I’m not a conservative, democrat, independent or libertarian, I’m an American.
Let’s remember men have placed our flag on the moon. It’s been placed in far-reaching lands in battles. Loved ones have draped it on the coffins of their dearly departed. Our flag is a reminder that we live in a country where you do have the FREEDOM to burn a flag and NOT be arrested and killed. So don’t abuse your freedom. Have your different opinions, raise your fist in white-knuckled protest. Be angry. Just don’t incinerate our flag.
There is a younger generation watching. There is a blond-haired, blue-eyed child with pride in her heart- for now, but that could change, because she’s watching. She’s part of the generation who will one day be making and upholding the laws, fighting the wars, defending our Constitution and country when you are too old and possibly feeble to even muster up the energy to strike a match. And YOU owe it to her. She deserves to live in our great country where her liberties can be exercised. And you will want her to care about America and your freedoms, and to understand what all of that means. Burning our flag will not teach her anything except anarchy. She will need to respect our flag that encompasses all America represents. But understand respect is learned, it’s instilled and it’s earned.
Remember you stand under an invisible cloak of red, white and blue that you can’t burn away; it was fabricated under the sacrifice of men and women of many different nationalities of origin, political beliefs and socioeconomic backgrounds who at the end of the day are proud to be called Americans.