Burning flag as protest a matter of free speech In...


October 07, 2001

Burning flag as protest a matter of free speech

In response to C. Babka ("Pass bill that bans burning our flag," letters, Sept. 30) I would say that some of the people in the past in our country who have burned our flag have done so out of a deep love and concern for the United States, while in strong opposition to actions of the federal government. This was legitimate use of their right to free speech.

On the other hand, as I have driven throughout the Washington area in the past two weeks, I've seen hundreds of U.S. flags, many hanging from highway overpasses. Like everyone else, when these first appeared after the attacks on New York and Washington, I got a thrill of pride and a lump in my throat.

Now, a great majority of the ones still hanging are bedraggled, torn, knotted or hanging precariously by a single corner. Some are laying on the ground in the medians. Now you can find U.S. flags that have blown off cars, laying in the dirt along roadsides like so much litter. This neglect and disrespect is, in my eyes, much worse than someone burning the symbol of our country in an attempt to shake it from an errant course.

Mike Selmer

Mount Airy

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