Press Release: Celebrate Flag Day by protecting Old Glory
As Americans across the country proudly hoist the Stars and Stripes for Flag Day, city streets will blaze with red, white and blue. American Legion posts at various locations will conduct proper flag-collection and retirement ceremonies. The spouses and parents of fallen troops will look upon the colors and consider the cost of freedom, as symbolized by the U.S. flag, now celebrating its 234th birthday.
At the same time, American Legion National Commander Jimmie L. Foster is seeking support for a constitutional amendment to return to the people the right to protect Old Glory. The amendment simply reads: “Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.”
By judicial decree in 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a controversial 5-4 decision, “amended” the United States Constitution by “inserting” flag burning into the Bill of Rights. That decision took from the American people a fundamental right that had been exercised from our beginning as a nation – the right to protect our flag.
Since then, The American Legion – along with the Citizens Flag Alliance and a majority of Americans – have fought for a constitutional amendment that would allow for the passage of flag-protection laws. All 50 states have passed memorializing resolutions in support of such an amendment.
“The U.S. flag is so much more than a piece of cloth,” Foster said. “It is a universal symbol of freedom, hope and security, and the price in blood Americans have paid to provide, protect and restore those values. As it did after the Revolutionary War, our flag inspires patriotic Americans and troops in harm’s way around the world today. Those who wish to burn it, stomp on it or soil it are not conducting speech as I believe our nation’s founders envisioned. They are conducting acts of hatred, hatred for all that our flag symbolizes and all who gave their lives fighting under it. That is why, as veterans, The American Legion will never stop fighting for its protection.”
Protection of our flag impairs no one’s free speech. It does not prevent a single idea from being expressed. It involves no censorship of an idea. The amendment would only allow for the prohibition of conduct with respect to one unique object, the flag of the United States of America.
House Joint Resolution 13, introduced by U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO) currently has 50 co-sponsors, including 44 Republicans and six Democrats. A parallel measure, Senate Joint Resolution 19, was introduced today in the Senate with bipartisan support by Senators Orrin Hatch (UT) and Max Baucus (MT).
Commander Foster requests all Legionnaires, concerned citizens, veterans and their families to write, call and visit their congressional representatives to either request their co-sponsorship or to thank them for their support.