Ignorant of the law?

How do you feel when you see the American flag? The Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, call it what you will, symbolizes the United States of America. We who call this our home country pledge our allegiance to the flag and what it represents. We sing our national anthem to honor it. Most of us do, anyway.

Maybe I love our flag because I grew up during World War II, when feelings of patriotism were strong everywhere you looked. This was in Baltimore, home of Fort McHenry, which guards the harbor where our national anthem was written.

I confess to strong feelings about our flag and become frustrated when I see it abused, disrespected. I especially hate to see it being worn as clothing by people who think that by doing so, they are showing their patriotism. They are doing just the opposite.

They are demonstrating their disrespect for the flag that I love, and they are breaking the law. U.S. Flag Code is officially written in law and appears in Title 4 and Title 36 of U.S. Code. It was written and approved by Congress and is officially a law. It sets down rules for the display and treatment of Old Glory. Here are excerpts in the U.S. Flag Code that apply specifically to clothing:

(d)  The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.

(j)  No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.

That’s pretty clear, easy to understand. Are its violators simply ignorant of the law? The code, which, let’s remember, has the force of law, also states that the flag should never be used for advertising purposes “in any manner whatsoever.” Have you ever seen this violated? Me too.

Here’s a message to misguided protesters and others who proudly disgrace our revered national flag by wearing it as head wraps, shirts, pants, underwear, neckties, you name it, thinking that they are showing their patriotism:

You are wrong, you are disrespecting our flag, and you are breaking the law.

Now you know.


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