Respecting the flag

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed into law a provision creating the official American flag, stating that it should consist of 13 stripes, alternating red and white, with a blue field with 13 white stars in a circular pattern.

Over the years, as the nation grew, the number of stars in the field grew with it. The last change to the flag came on July 4, 1960, when the flag went from 49 stars to 50 to signify the addition of Hawaii to the union.

The flag evokes strong emotions in many people. That was evident late last year, on November 27 and 28, when Larry “The Flag Guy” Eckhardt and a group of volunteers lined the streets of this community and nearby St. Patrick with almost 2,000 American flags as a tribute for the funeral of Marine Lance Corp. Dale Means, who was killed in action in Afghanistan. People looking on at the scene could be seen wiping away tears at the site.

The American flag should be treated with respect. It is a symbol of this nation, and all that it stands for. However, people today aren’t always aware of what is and isn’t an acceptable practice for display of the flag.

That has been evident by the actions of politicians on both sides of the aisle. A democratic organization was criticized in 2008 for displaying a flag that had the image of Barack Obama imposed in the blue field. Around the same time, Sarah Palin took some heat for autographing a flag for a supporter. Both are violations of the U.S. Flag Code.

The flag doesn’t represent one political party or one ideology. It represents the entire nation. It’s not a Republican flag or a Democratic flag. To suggest otherwise is to be disrespectful not only to other groups, but to the flag itself.