Flag should be protected

June 14th commemorates “Flag Day,” a day when millions of Americans, schools, government buildings, businesses, and grave sites will display the symbol that captures the spirit of American ideals and freedoms – the American flag. 

Since 1777, the Stars and Stripes has proudly represented America at home and abroad, on every fighting front from the shores of Normandy to every mission of peace.  While the flag may have changed in appearance – with additional stars added as our nation has grown – the spirit of the Stars and Stripes has endured. 

Those who see it waving are instantly reminded of the unity and purpose of the people of the U.S. and of the brave men and women who have defended it with their lives.

We must not only respect the flag and what it represents – we must also protect it.

I have long supported a Constitutional amendment to allow states to prohibit acts of desecration against the American flag. Outlawing the desecration of the American flag will preserve both an individual’s right to speak out against the flag and will protect the flag itself – a symbol of America’s unity, freedom and values.

Whether our nation’s flag be displayed at a county fair, carried by American troops to victory at Iwo Jima during World War II or planted on the Moon, the American flag has served as a beacon of hope throughout our nation’s history. It is respected by nations throughout the world. 

Yet, while our own laws make it a crime to desecrate flags of other nations, an individual can burn, rip or otherwise destroy the American flag. It is ironic the government has the power to draft men to fight and perhaps die for the flag, but cannot prohibit public burning of the flag itself.

Our flag helps us show solidarity and pride in what America stands for and it serves as a reminder of the debt we owe to those who protect and defend us. 

If you are interested in purchasing an American flag that has been flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of a person or occasion please call my office at 509-543-9396. 

Rep. Doc Hastings represents Washington’s 4th Congressional District, including Okanogan County.

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