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07-24-13-our-american-flag.gifA recent news story showed an American entertainer defaming the American flag by using it as a door mat in his expression of contempt for the principles represented by the Stars and Stripes. Most Americans were offended by this display; some enjoyed it; and many just didn’t care.

In America, we have a right to freedom of speech and expression. In Colonial times Patrick Henry (quoting Voltaire) said “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

Our American Flag means many things to many people. Contrast the defamation of the flag with the historical painting by Dale Gallon entitled “Dress to the Colors.” San Juan Hill, Cuba, July 1, 1898 — the Spanish American War. Color Sgt. George Berry, Troop G, 10th U.S. Cavalry is the central figure in the painting. As a member of the famed Buffalo Soldiers, Berry saw extensive combat in the war. He is pictured here carrying the American Flag of the 10th Cavalry in the assault. As he passed by the fallen flag bearer of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry, he grabbed the yellow regimental flag of the 3rd and took both flags to the very top of Kettle Hill, while braving heavy fire. Berry saw this as his duty — he did it in combat, at the risk if his life. The American Flag meant something to Color Sgt. George Berry.

Our American Flag means a great deal for many Fayetteville citizens. On June 15, a Flag Retirement Ceremony took place on the historic Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry Parade Field. “When the United States flag (Old Glory) becomes worn, torn, faded or badly soiled, it is time to replace it with a new flag, and the old flag should be “retired” with all the dignity and respect befitting our nation’s flag. The traditional method of retirement is to incinerate the flag.” (Boy Scout Handbook).

Photo: Dale Gallon’s painting “Dress to the Colors”.

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