Don’t treat my flag that way!

Posted By | June 10, 2008 12:00 am

It’s Friday afternoon, and I’m typing just as quickly as I can before my deadline so I can tell you about something that has angered me.
A friend of mine called a couple of hours ago to tell me about something he had seen that upset him a great deal. As he was traveling down one of our streets in town, he observed a tattered American flag being flown upside down! Now, for those of you who are familiar with flag etiquette, I have already said enough. For those of you who are not acquainted with the proper way to fly Old Glory, I will give you a quick lesson. YOU DO NOT FLY IT UPSIDE DOWN – unless you are in distress. Yes, the American flag flown upside down is a signal of distress.
So, to continue with my story, my friend turned his vehicle around and went back to this location to check on the occupant, just to inquire if he needed help. As my friend walked into the business, he asked the man if he was OK. The man responded that he was “fine.”
Needless to say, my friend, who just happens to be a veteran, immediately asked him why he was flying his tattered American flag upside down. The man’s response was something to the effect of “that is how I feel about this country.”
 Whoa!!! Does this man not realize how the majority of Americans feel about their flag? Is he so ungrateful to those who fought and died for our freedom that he is willing to disgrace the men and women who have sacrificed their lives so we might live in the greatest country in the world?
I could preach forever about this incident, but I quickly remembered the words of one of the finest men I have had the pleasure of knowing in the past few years. He is a dedicated soldier who served in Iraq. He loves God, and he loves his country. I can remember some of us sitting around at the National Guard armory one day talking about how people disrespected the flag. Then, this man spoke, with the calmness and sincerity of a true American soldier.
He, too, despises those who burn our flag. He, too, gets angry when he sees someone who disrespects the flag. But, he firmly reminded me of one thing. Although he gets sick to his stomach every time he sees a blatant disregard for Old Glory, he told me his job as a soldier – the defender of freedom – included all those individuals who spit in his face and who disrespect our flag. He reminded me that as offensive as these acts might be, soldiers gave their lives to allow the freedoms that we have. Wow! I know that had to be difficult for him to say, because he loves his flag with all his heart.
I still can’t understand how anyone could treat the American flag in this manner.  But, thank you, Eric, for giving me a lesson in freedom. I only wish this man who flew our flag upside down could meet you.

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