Is the American Flag Important? If one looks at the photo on www.ConservativeTruth.org it is clear that is not important to Barack Hussein Obama. Even Hillary had her hand over her heart as the National Anthem was being played. (The national Flag Codes prescribes that military personnel salute, and private citizens place their hands over their hearts when the Anthem is played.) But Obama just stood with his hands folded as everyone else present honored the flag and the National Anthem!
The photo was taken at a Democrat campaign event in Indianola, Iowa on September 16, 2007. Its authenticity has been verified by both Snopes.com and TruthOrFiction.com. To put it in context, Gov. Bill Richardson, Hillary Clinton and Ruth Harkin (the wife of Senator Tom Harkin) are pictured with hands over their hearts reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the ceremonies. The others on the platform who participated in the pledge (but are not visible in the photo) were Senators Tom Harkin, Chris Dodd, John Edwards and Joe Biden.
All of these people showed respect for our flag. They at least acted as if it mattered to them (although I believe some of them were just doing it because it was expected of them). Obama didn't even bother to pretend. He also refuses to wear an American flag pin on his suit, as all the other presidential candidates do. Obviously there is no law that says candidates must wear flags. But his obvious contempt for the flag extends to what the flag stands for -- the country that it represents. Obama wants to be president of a country for which he shows no respect.
As I mentioned above, Hillary and many of the other Democrat candidates have no more respect for America and its citizens than Obama. Perhaps he should get some points for not pretending that he cares about and respects the country. But I doubt he will get many points from our veterans and other patriots who respect the flag and all it stands for.
John Edwards blew any real chance he had for the Democrat nomination a few weeks ago (see my article, "John Edwards Loses His Party's Nomination" at www.conservativetruth.org/article.php?id=79). This picture of Obama showing his contempt for our flag and the Pledge will undoubtedly do the same for him.
One organization we wouldn't expect to follow in Obama's footsteps is the Department of Veterans Affairs. Yet recently they made a decision regarding the flag and the flag-folding ceremony at the funerals of veterans that was just as contemptuous of the flag and what it stands for for the majority of Americans as anything Barack Hussein Obama did.
A single complaint by an atheist protested a few words in the Flag Folding ceremony that has been used at veterans' funerals for decades. These words referred to "God". How awful! One presumes that this is the same God Whose Name is used in our national motto, "In God We Trust." But the Department of Veterans Affairs decided to bow to the pressure of one atheist and deprive millions of Americans of the comfort of the ceremony. The National Cemetary Administration (part of the Department of Veterans' Affairs) banned the ceremony in all 125 National Cemetaries because of the one complaint.
Bill Densmore, Riverside County's veterans services officer, defended the federal decision. He called the flag-folding ritual "poorly written" and a "hokey and sentimental version of one person's vision of America." If it reflects "one person's vision of America," Billy, why has it been read at hundreds of thousands of burial ceremonies?
The Department claimed that because government employees perform the ceremonies, it would look like the government was endorsing religion, and in the process offending atheists who hate God.
There are just a few problems with this:
1) No family (atheist or otherwise) is ever required to have the ceremony at the funeral of their loved one. All they have to do is say, "We don't want the flag-folding ceremony at Uncle Joe's funeral," and that's the end of it.
2) Almost every one of the people who perform as honor guards at funerals and read the recitation as the flag is being folded to give to the family are volunteers! They are NOT government employees. They are mostly retired veterans who are members of the VFW. The Department uses the tortured "logic" that since it pays for the insurance at the ceremonies, that somehow makes these dedicated veterans "government employees."
3) If the government doesn't want to endorse religion, it will have to get rid of the thousands of Armed Forces chaplains who ARE paid government employees. (If they try that, the uproar will be heard around the world!)
When are we going to stop letting a few people who are too ignorant to recognize that our wonderful universe was created by a loving God dictate to the rest of us? Atheists make up far less than 1% of our population. When are we going to stop giving a tiny minority veto power over the vast majority who do understand that this complex universe could never have happened by accident?
Veterans are furious. "That the actions of one disgruntled, whining, narcissistic and intolerant individual is preventing veterans from getting the honors they deserve is truly an outrage," said Rees Lloyd, 59, a Vietnam-era veteran and Memorial Honor Detail volunteer. "This is another attempt by secularist fanatics to cleanse any reference to God."
World War II Navy sailor Bobby Castillo, 85, another member of Memorial Honor Detail 12, called the federal decision "a slap in the face to every veteran."
"When we got back from the war, we didn't ask for a whole lot," said Castillo, who was wounded in 1944 as he supported the Allied landings in France. "We just want to give our veterans the respect they deserve. No one has ever complained to us about it. I just don't understand."
The pair is part of a team that has performed military honors at more than 1,400 services, said they were preparing to read the flag-folding remarks when workers in a staff car came up to them and stopped them.
Charlie Waters, parliamentarian for the American Legion of California, said he's advising memorial honor details to ignore the edict. "This is nuts. There are 26 million veterans in this country and they're not going to take us all to prison."
As to the main point of this article, when are patriotic Americans going to start standing up for the flag? Something is very wrong when the second in line for the Democrat nomination for the presidency can express contempt for the flag, and have the liberal press cover for him. (You haven't seen this covered on the liberal TV programs or in the liberal newspapers have you?)
Something is seriously wrong with our country when a city like Berkely, California, is allowed to discipline firefighters for flying the American flag on their trucks in a display of patriotism following 9-11. And something is decidedly wrong when the federal government itself attempts to deprive mourning families of the comfort of a ceremony that has been used for many decades.
I say "attempts" because the Department of Veteran's Affairs was forced to reverse its ban after 30 days when several things happened:
1) Many veteran's groups said, "We don't care what those Washington blankety-blank pencil-necks say. We're gooing to do the ceremony.
2) There was a massive uproar from patriots and veterans all over the nation who were tired of the government bowing to pressure from people who don't understand things like honor, duty and tradition.
3) And a few Congressman (not surprising, almost all of them Republicans) told the Department to back off or else.
"What's the big deal?" some might say. "The flag is just a symbol, isn't it?" Yes, it is a symbol, but it is not "just" a symbol.
Symbols are important. One image can embody the sentiments of thousands of words. If you study the origin and evolution of our flag, you will be amazed at the richness of its symbolism and history.
American history is replete with instances in which the flag has rallied soldiers as well as citizens to great exploits of bravery and valor. True children of our nation are moved when they see the American Flag flying in its beauty and grandeur.
More than anything, our flag simply represents who and what we are. If we allow our flag to be desecrated or held in contempt by people who don't love America, then we allow our nation to be deserated and held in contempt. A nation so regarded by its own people cannot long survive. Our flag is worth fighting for.
Tom Barrett has been an ordained minister for 30 years. He has written for local and national publications for most of his life, and has authored several non-fiction books. He has been interviewed on many TV and radio programs, and speaks at seminars nationwide. Tom is the editor and publisher of Conservative Truth, an email newsletter read by over fifty thousand weekly which focuses on moral and political issues from a Biblical viewpoint.