Monday, June 15, 2015

Remember Our National Symbol

June 14, 2015 is Flag Day. Old Glory is 238 years old. I don’t know what you think about a day set aside for a flag but as for me and my house, we will remember.
On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution which stated: "Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." Flag Day is now observed on June 14 of each year. While scholars still argue about this, tradition holds that the new flag was first hoisted in June 1777 by the Continental Army at the Middlebrook encampment.
The first official U.S. flag flown during battle was on August 3, 1777 at Fort Schuyler (Fort Stanwix) during the Siege of Fort Stanwix. Massachusetts reinforcements brought news of the adoption by Congress of the official flag to Fort Schuyler. Soldiers cut up their shirts to make the white stripes; scarlet material to form the red was secured from red flannel petticoats of officers' wives, while material for the blue union was secured from Capt. Abraham Swartwout's blue cloth coat. A voucher is extant that Capt. Swartwout of Dutchess County was paid by Congress for his coat for the flag.
I find it amazing that the first official United States flag was flown during a revolutionary battle.
In 1795, the number of stars and stripes was increased from 13 to 15 (to reflect the entry of Vermont and Kentucky as states of the Union). For a time the flag was not changed when subsequent states were admitted, probably because it was thought that this would cause too much clutter. It was the 15-star, 15-stripe flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write "Defence of Fort M'Henry", later known as “The Star Spangled Banner”.
I know that our flag is “just a flag”, but the history and the many who fought for our freedoms under it’s banner makes it more than “just a flag”.
I just read where some protesters were protesting some perceived injustice had decided to deface Old Glory. A Marine veteran took offense to this and did something to stop it. He was arrested. But he said it was worth defending that flag once again.

United States law states:

18 U.S. Code § 700 - Desecration of the flag of the United States; penalties
(a)
(1) Whoever knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
(2) This subsection does not prohibit any conduct consisting of the disposal of a flag when it has become worn or soiled.
(b) As used in this section, the term “flag of the United States” means any flag of the United States, or any part thereof, made of any substance, of any size, in a form that is commonly displayed.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed as indicating an intent on the part of Congress to deprive any State, territory, possession, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico of jurisdiction over any offense over which it would have jurisdiction in the absence of this section.
(d)
(1) An appeal may be taken directly to the Supreme Court of the United States from any interlocutory or final judgment, decree, or order issued by a United States district court ruling upon the constitutionality of subsection (a).
(2) The Supreme Court shall, if it has not previously ruled on the question, accept jurisdiction over the appeal and advance on the docket and expedite to the greatest extent possible.

At the risk of this becoming a rant, why the heck is this law constantly being broken and no one being arrested for breaking it? Because of our “Supreme Court” deciding that:
1974: Spence v. Washington (418 U.S. 405) — The Supreme Court held that the State of Washington could not convict a person for attaching removable tape in the form of a peace sign to a flag. The defendant had attached the tape to his flag and draped it outside of his window in protest of the U.S. invasion of Cambodia and the Kent State killings. The Court again found under the First Amendment there was not a sufficient governmental interest to justify regulating this form of symbolic speech. Although not a flag burning case, this represented the first time the Court had clearly stated that protest involving the physical use of the flag should be seen as a form of protected expression under the First Amendment.
This is a change from 1968 ruling:
1968: Adoption of Federal Flag Desecration Law (18 U.S.C. 700 et seq.) — Congress approved the first federal flag desecration law in the wake of a highly publicized Central Park flag burning incident in protest of the Vietnam War. The federal law made it illegal to "knowingly" cast "contempt" upon "any flag of the United States by publicly mutilating, defacing, defiling, burning or trampling upon it." The law defined flag in an expansive manner similar to most States.

The Supreme Court seems to change its mind with whatever political wind that blows.

Things should change when someone pledges to defend this country. A Supreme Court justice takes this oath:

"I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

I think sometimes political correctness bears sway in the Supreme Court. Sometimes I wish decisions on the Constitutionality of things would be ruled on with what our founding Fathers actually thought. Not what the current political climate is. I guess they do the best they can in what is brought before them. I’m not sure that this “Freedom of speech and expression” should include desecrating our national symbol. I wish the Supreme Court would step up and fight for this country and Constitution as they have taken an oath to do.

Please remember Old Glory with fondness and respect.

Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

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