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Protecting The Symbol of Our Country

Protecting The Symbol of Our Country

On June 12,1997 the Flag Amendment was passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 310 to 114. The Amendment gives Congress the right to prevent the physical desecration of the American flag. “Today’s vote is strong evidence that the voice of the American people has been heard and heeded by the US House of Representatives”(Flag Alliance, Inc. 1), says Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, who is the head of the Citizens Flag Alliance(CFA). Today, forty-nine state legislatures have made it clear to Congress that they want flag protection laws. However, not everyone is in favor of these laws. These “radicals” or “revolutionists” as they like to call themselves, feel that burning the flag is their constitutional right under the first amendment: freedom of speech. (You might want to go ahead and establish your thesis here. It shows up in the next paragraph, and that’s okay too though.)

I strongly support the flag protection amendment. “The flag is a symbol of our great nation and all that we stand for. No other American symbol has been as universally honored or has bestowed such honor as the flag”(Flag Alliance, Inc. 1), says Rep. William Lipinski of Illinois. Those who destroy the flag, or view it as just a design on a piece of cloth lack the understanding of our nations(AP) history, and take their American citizenship for granted. They burn the flag only to get attention, or because they are angry with the government, and see it as a way of getting back at them. My solution to these people who are aggravated with our government is to move somewhere else. Try living in China or Cuba, and see if you agree with the way they run their government. When you burn the flag you break the chains that holds you together in unity with the rest of the nation. (This is a pretty extreme metaphor. You need to clearly establish why the desecration of the flag is so damaging. Also, look at your solution. It is also extreme. Will you effectively convince people who don’t agree with you by being so extreme? Some drama and emotion is good. But remember that your audience will expect you to show open-mindedness as well.)

An astonishing eighty-one percent of Americans are in favor of the amendment. This number shows how much of an affect the flag has on our country.

Is Flag Burning protected under the First Amendment?

Is Flag Burning protected under the First Amendment?

There is a proposed amendment to make flag burning illegal. Congress tried to pass the Flag Protection Act of 1989, but the act failed because it is seen as a form of public protection. There have been other attempts to pass legislation to protect the American flag but all of the attempts have failed so far.

Flag burning is very controversial because people have different definitions of what “freedom of speech” means and what our flag stands for. This essay explores these definitions from the proponent’s viewpoint for a law protecting the flag and the opponents view point against such a law. The most debated question being asked at this time is: is flag burning protected under the First Amendment guaranteeing the freedom of speech? It all depends on how a person defines the flag and interprets the First Amendment.

In order to help answer this question let’s being by defining what a flag is. The proponents (veterans, Citizens Flag Alliance, and other organizations of this type) of the amendment for protection of the flag define the flag as a “cultural artifact with meaning significance, and usage determined by the particular system employing it (Guenter 18).” Some flag historians have recognized the impact of culture on the shifting significance and usage of the national banner, although no one has ventured a full-scale probe of the subject (Guenter 16). The flag in the beginning was a symbol of freedom and enlightenment. The flag design has even changed. The very first flag contained thirteen stars that were in a circle with the red and white stripes. As the nation grew so did the flag, until the flag became what we know of it today.

The proponents also feel that, the flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever (www.legion.org/flagcode.htm). It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkin or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard (www.legion.org/flagcode.htm). Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown. No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform (www.legion.org/falgcode.htm).

However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations.

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