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As Long as We Remember...

September 19, 2014

Still Under Attack

Joe Charlebois

Two Hundred years ago last weekend, Frederick’s own Francis Scott Key witnessed the 25-hour bombardment of Fort McHenry aboard a British naval vessel while bargaining a prisoner exchange. He watched as the severely outnumbered American forces protecting Baltimore from the invading British forces were able to hold off the greatest naval force in the world.


Upon the withdrawal of the British from land and sea, the Americans proudly raised our colors. This week an American court allowed for continued restrictions on the display of the American flag.


This week the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to hear a case that kept students from displaying the flag whenever they want. The refusal of these judges to take up this case – in essence – is a tacit endorsement of this policy. It allows the three-judge panel’s decision to stand. Opponents who believe that this is an infringement on the 1st Amendment have only one avenue remaining. They must appeal this to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Back in 2010, Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, California, instituted a policy that asked students who wore shirts with the American flag depicted on it to remove the shirt or turn it inside-out to minimize hostilities between Americans and Mexicans. They instituted this policy for Cinco de Mayo. The school felt it inappropriate for proud Americans to express their love for their country while students of Mexican heritage were present.


It is a sad day in America when citizens of America who express pride in wearing the Stars and Stripes are told by “authorities” that they must not incite feelings of hate. The reason given by the three-judge panel as to why such a policy could be legally instituted was that there was a “threat of potentially violent disturbance.”


When did wearing a shirt with the American flag on it pose a threat to anyone in California! It became a threat when an undetermined number of illegal immigrants came to America and refused to assimilate. Incidents like this, and similar ones in Europe, have allowed for the newcomers to impose their culture and beliefs on their new country. America is no different. The newcomer’s refusal to accept American culture and the grand melting pot that has given us our unique identity will only lead to a Balkan-like destruction. We do need to learn and understand the culture of other, but we have our own culture; we need not bow to other cultures.


The flag has been a stalwart of that American culture. Americans have and always will be proud of and defend the flag. The display of the flag at homes, businesses, stadiums and parades is deeply imbedded into our very fabric.


Mr. Key’s patriotic fervor and delight in seeing the flag flying above Fort McHenry on that September night and its raising the following morning 200 years ago led him to pen and publish “The Defence of Fort McHenry.” It would, of course, become or national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner.”


The first of the four verses, of course, is the one we all know – some better than others. What most don’t know is that the first line is actually a question. The second, third and fourth verses end with exclamation points.  “Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? – was answered. It was answered when at nine o’clock the garrison at Fort McHenry raised the immense flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes as a bold statement that indeed they were still there and would refuse to surrender.


We shouldn’t give in to the inane political correctness under the guise of diversity when it comes to American culture and symbols. The U.S. Supreme Court should take up this case and allow the display of the American flag under any circumstance.


If our flag can be burned under the terms of free speech, why can’t it be displayed for the same reason?


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