As we look around our neighborhoods, in cemeteries, and in public places, we see an abundance of flags. At times they are flying at half mast, and we usually understand why. Are you obeying the Flag Code or do you maintain you are exercising your First Amendment Rights to Free Speech where your treatment of the flag is concerned?
In this nation in which we prize independence highly, I’d like you to indicate if you or those you observe are violating the Flag Code or are not:
· In recent days we have seen in streets of cities and small towns throughout the country the flag being displayed with the “union down” or “upside down” in common parlance;
· “Taking a knee” while the national anthem is being played and the flag raised at sporting events has become an issue;
· Then we see persons happily waving the Mexican flag, especially in southwestern states;
· And American flags are being burned;
· Also, there are those who discard worn flags in their trash receptacles; and
· There are those who choose to wear all manner of clothing with flags.
British artist Banksy has a new piece of art online this month as well as some comments including: “People of color are being failed by the system.” The art features an American flag on fire, lit by a candle, and there is a black-gray background with a figure.
Consider discussing the issues I’ve raised with others, but before you do, please educate yourself by going online and studying “The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions.” The code is comprehensive and covers a broad range of issues from flag size to flags at funerals.
One thing that will stand out to some of you is that the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the President, may modify the rules and customs regarding the flag as he deems appropriate or desirable and shall set forth such alterations or additional rules in a proclamation.
Vivian B. Blevins. Ph.D., a graduate of The Ohio State University, served as a community college president for 15 years in Kentucky, Texas, California, and Missouri before returning to Ohio to teach telecommunication employees from around the country and students at Edison State Community College and to work with veterans. You may reach her at 937-778-3815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.