It appears that the American flag has now become a fashion statement. It seems like every day brings with it more people wearing shorts and shirts that are fashioned in a way that they almost looks like they are made out of American flags. While I appreciate people trying to be patriotic by sporting Old Glory themed clothes, I can’t help but feel uncomfortable with the concept of wearing the flag. For one, it is against proper flag etiquette that states. I must admit I am guilty of violating the high standards of our official flag code. For one I once foolishly bought (but no longer display) a flag that had writing on it, which is disrespectful. Secondly, one of my favorite shirts from high school soccer has an American flag patch on the sleeve in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, which is also a violation of the code (though in my own opinion I think it is a respectable salute to our country). Therefore I am not claiming to be some sort of perfect flag-code-following citizen.
But to me walking around with flag shorts and a flag worn like a cape just seems more disrespectful than a simple flag patch on a sleeve (especially when the flag attire is worn while piss drunk). The Star Spangled Banner is just too sacred in our civil religion to be treated so cheaply. I know it is a cliche, but the truth is that the flag is symbolic of America as a whole, and too many people have shed blood defending our country to treat America in a disrespectful way. For some the flag is just an object to be used like any other meaningless material good, but for many (including veterans) the flag represents something very sacred and important in their lives. It represents the country they love, the freedom they cherish, and the hope that they cling to for a better tomorrow. Such a powerful symbol deserves the utmost respect.
The idea of respecting the flag became personal to me when my grandfather, who was a veteran of WW2, died. At his funeral he received the honor of having members of the military drape his coffin with an American flag (the only situation in which a flag is supposed to be draped over something), playing taps as a salute to a honorable veteran, then folding up the flag as it is meant to be done and presenting it to our family. This ritual is engrained in my head because it is what made me so deeply respect our veterans and everything they fought for, which is embodied in the Stars and Stripes.
Again, I am not asking for perfect flag etiquette. Simply a little more awareness of respecting the flag and all she stands for is all that I ask.
If you want to know how Marines respond to anti-american fools who disrespect the flag, click on the link below: