Tag: U.S. flag

My thoughts about flag burning

A little over 30 miles from my home, a flag-burning case is all over the local news.

In Urbana, Illinois, Bryton Mellott, 22 years of age, was booked by local law enforcement for burning the U.S. flag as a form of political protest. Specifically, Mellott was booked for disorderly conduct and violating the Illinois flag desecration statute, which officially classifies flag desecration as a felony in Illinois.

I want to share my own thoughts about flag burning.

Unless there are aggravating circumstances in a particular case (such as flag burning on government property of any kind, flag burning on private property not owned by the individual burning the flag without permission from the property owner, or causing a broader public danger by burning the flag (such as igniting a wildfire or setting fire to something other than the flag)), flag burning should be considered a form of protected free speech. As someone who comes from a family that has had many family members serve in our nation’s Armed Forces, I regard the U.S. flag as a very important national symbol, and burning the U.S. flag is something that I would never do. If I wish to air some kind of grievance that I have about politics or government policy, I will write a blog post, either on this website or another website, about it. However, as long as no damage is being done to property other than the flag itself, the flag in question is the property of the individual burning it, and the flag burning is taking place on one’s own private property or, if on someone else’s property, with permission from the property owner, I don’t believe that flag burning should be a criminal offense of any kind. Keep in mind that I don’t personally approve of burning the flag as a form of protest, and it is something that I would never even consider doing. If you wish to dispose of a U.S. flag in a proper and dignified manner, I recommend contacting an organization like the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) for information before disposing of the flag.

Also, I strongly disapprove of making violent threats towards people, even people who are convicted or accused of criminal activity. We have a judicial system in this country that is built on the principle of due process, not vigilantism.


Republicans in Wisconsin and Missouri disrespect the American flag

On June 14, 1777, exactly two years to the day of the founding of what is now known as U.S. Army, the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the first version of the national flag of the United States of America. In 1916, then-President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring June 14 to be Flag Day.

Sadly, some politicians have used Flag Day to disgrace the American flag.

First off, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a Republican, sent out a Flag Day tweet featuring a 48-star flag, which hasn’t been in official use since July 3, 1959:

The U.S. flag has officially featured 50 stars since July 4, 1960, the first Independence Day since Hawaii became the most recent state to join the Union.

Even more disgraceful, in my opinion, was a decision by two of the three members of the Republican-controlled Cole County, Missouri commission to not lower the U.S. flag on county grounds to half-mast, as ordered by the president to commemorate the terrorist attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Cole County, Missouri includes Jefferson City, which is Missouri’s state capital:

Following this weekend’s shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, President Obama ordered that, “as a mark of respect for the victims,” the United States flag be flown at half-staff “upon all public buildings and grounds” through the end of the day Thursday. Officials in Cole County, Missouri decided this didn’t apply to them.

The three-member commission that governs the county voted 2-1 against lowering the flag. “We (the commission) still have control over how the flags are displayed,” Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher (R) told the Jefferson City News Tribune. “Lowering it too much takes away from the honor. I feel for these victims and for their families, but I don’t feel this was a time for the flag to be lowered.”

Commissioner Kris Scheperle (R) similarly suggested that the Orlando shooting just doesn’t rise to the occasion. “I want to honor those who have served our country,” he said, “but we can’t lower it for every event like this that occurs. I do feel for those who were gunned down, but I don’t think it warrants lowering the flag.”

After public outcry, the Cole County commissioners decided to reverse their original decision and obey the president’s orders to lower the U.S. flag to half-staff after all.

While America celebrates our national flag, Republicans are busy disgracing our flag.

Possible U.S. Flag Code violation at PGA Championship?

AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: I am unsure of whether or not Whistling Straits is violating the U.S. Flag Code. If Whistling Straits is not violating the U.S. Flag Code, I will take this blog post down. Additionally, this blog post will not be shared on Tumblr or Google+.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: Although TNT and CBS, the broadcasters of the PGA Championship, refer to Whistling Straits being located in Kohler, Wisconsin, the course is actually located near Haven, Wisconsin.

I’ve noticed on TNT and CBS broadcasts of the 2015 PGA Championship that, at Whistling Straits golf course near Haven, Wisconsin, there are three flags flying next to each other in front of the clubhouse. The left-most flag is the flag of the United States, the middle flag is the flag of the Republic of Ireland, and the right-most flag is the flag of Wisconsin. All three flags are flying at full-staff on flagpoles of equal height.

I’m not 100% sure of this, but that may be a violation of the U.S. Flag Code.

If I’m not mistaken, the Wisconsin flag should be flown either on a flagpole that is of lesser height than the flagpole that the U.S. flag is flying on or below the U.S. flag on the same flagpole. Flying a state flag, such as the Wisconsin flag, at the same height as the U.S. flag implies that Wisconsin is a sovereign country and not part of the United States, neither of which are actually the case.

If anyone can confirm whether or not Whistling Straits is violating the U.S. Flag Code, leave a comment on this blog post. If Whistling Straits is violating the flag code, than it would be especially disgusting, when one considers that, prior to the construction of golf courses there, Whistling Straits was a U.S. military camp during the mid-20th century.