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Archive for Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Flag abuse

August 15, 2012

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To the editor:

I always enjoy the Olympics, whether summer or winter. So much excitement, sportsmanship and hope for medals. The only thing that really bothers me happens when the athletes take their national flags and drape them over their shoulders or use them as capes.  Each flag represents the history of a country and what it has gone through — years of struggle to be free, wars to help other nations, or even space exploration. A person should be proud of his or her country, not parade around wearing its flag. There are billions of people watching the Olympics on television and they should not see this kind of behavior.

Comments

matahari 2 years, 2 months ago

I am siding with Flynt and Hoffman on this one...and I really wish I had the problem "this is the only thing that really bothers me"

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Katara 2 years, 2 months ago

Allowing a winner in the Olympics to be draped with their nations' flag is an honor.

This however is probably more as to what observant was referring to.

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Abdu Omar 2 years, 2 months ago

Actually, I feel just the opposite of the writer. The flag is a comfort and those putting it on their shoulders have just won an event. I am proud to see the American flag on the shoulders of athletes who have competed and won. It shows a national pride, a love of one's country and a sharing of the joy with those who also love the flag as they do. It is good we had so many placing it around their shoulders. I am proud of their accomplishments. Aren't you?

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 2 months ago

Think of it as an extension of flag draping on a coffin of a person who has served her or his country. If it is a sign of respect for the dead person to have it draped over their coffin, and the flag cherished by the family after that, then why should it not be a legitimate sign of respect by the Olympic winner to drape it over their honored shoulders as a sign of love of country after they have won? That flag will surely become an honored possession in the same vein as the flag draped over the coffin of a loved one becomes for the family.

Draping coffins had to ruffle a few feathers the first time it was done; it's time to accept Olympian flag draping into the panoply of acceptable flag etiquette--in fact I believe it already has been by the vast majority of citizens, as evidenced by the comments above.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 2 months ago

As a Navy veteran, I think I see two sides to this issue (?).

That flag has represented the country for hundreds of years and has followed us around the globe. We are asked to respect it and to honor the sacrifice and devotion that it deserves.

However, in the heat of the moment, in the celebration of a hard fought victory in the Olympics, I think I can make a case for the atheletes using it in the manner it was seen. I know that this is disturbing to some people, and it made me a bit uncomfortable, but in this setting, where the only desire of the winner of an Olympic moment is wanting to display their joy and happiness, and a flag pole is not available, I can make some concessions. Yes, there are rules of the proper dlsplay of the flag, but lighten up. These people mean no disrespect, are wanting to be recongnized as winning Americans, and I can accept that.

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jafs 2 years, 2 months ago

They've never been important, in my view.

The flag is a symbol - I'm much more interested in what it's standing for, and whether or not those principles are being upheld, than the piece of cloth itself.

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somedude20 2 years, 2 months ago

If this fellow is put-off by this, then driving around town and seeing all of the hanging flags that are in disrepair must make him/her spontaneous combustion. Look around, many homes have torn flags, On The Rocks has a big one hanging that looks like it took cannon fire

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heygary 2 years, 2 months ago

You need to rethink this one partner!

I saluted that flag every day for 23 years. I fly it every day as a civilian and draw comfort from the fact that it will someday drape my coffin.

I have no problem with a U.S. Olympian wrapping it around their shoulders and sincerely hope that when they do they can feel the love the people of this country have for them and the respect we have for their years of hard work and sacrifice.

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jafs 2 years, 2 months ago

I think this is the guy who grabbed somebody's shoulder at a sports event for not removing his hat, and was prosecuted for it.

At least, he's not doing that, and instead writing to the paper about it.

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rockchalker52 2 years, 2 months ago

Nah, pretty sure it's a different guy with the hat thing. He's way off base here, but Chris wouldn't do that.

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jafs 2 years, 2 months ago

Thanks. I stand corrected.

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blindrabbit 2 years, 2 months ago

Wonder what the author's military service consisted of; to be that exercised about the flag, I'm sure he spent some time serving the flag!

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Ragingbear 2 years, 2 months ago

How about you shut up and accept that not all countries tie weird and bizarre customs and traditions to their flags like we do? Many countries consider it a good thing for people to wear the flag like a cape or cloak.

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bevy 2 years, 2 months ago

I'm not as worried about them wearing the flag as I am about the PRISON GRAY warmups they wore everywhere. Guess they had to drape the flags so that people who couldn't see they teeny little flag patch on their sleeve could be sure that they were AMERICANS.

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kansanbygrace 2 years, 2 months ago

The flag draped around the shoulders isn't specifically against the law. Using it to make a shirt or pants is. The only sight of the Olympics that really bothered me in this respect was the athlete being interviewed on TV who had a wadded up flag in her hand wiping the sweat off her face with it. That really made me cringe. I believe its symbolism is too important, to just consider it the same as any old rag. My dad was a WWII vet who would knock on someone's door who was flying a tattered flag and give them, with the most kindness possible, a new flag and ask if he could please take their old one to be properly retired. I have no idea how many flags he bought to give away. No one ever turned him down.

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rockchalker52 2 years, 2 months ago

Great story! If your dad is still around, thank him for me. If not, please know that we are all thankful for his service.

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kansanbygrace 2 years, 2 months ago

He's gone. He knew. Left some big shoes....and half a dozen new flags.

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msezdsit 2 years, 2 months ago

"Each flag represents the history of a country and what it has gone through — years of struggle to be free, wars to help other nations, or even space exploration."

I am always amused at people who can't tell the difference between a piece of cloth and this country. Its a piece of cloth, it is not this country.

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kansanbygrace 2 years, 2 months ago

Is "represents" hard to catch, there?
Some people who have put a lot of skin in the game have a different take on it than you. I am less amused by people who can't consider the feelings of people who may take this more seriously, sometimes because of investments they've made of their blood, sweat and tears.
But, thanks to those efforts, represented by that flag, you can freely express your opinion, so please do speak freely.

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msezdsit 2 years, 2 months ago

I am all for patriotism and feelings for this country but you need to understand the difference between a piece of cloth and this country. It is silly and childish to to try to pretend this piece of cloth deserves the same consideration as this country. Try to plant some corn on this cloth. Try to build a house on it. It is not the same so quit pretending.
Its free game to criticize these athletes but let them try and wrap california over their shoulders.

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pace 2 years, 2 months ago

the only way to properly address this great wrong, is a national hunger strike combined with marches. Any lesser response is totally an insult to the writers opinion and feelings. Well perhaps we should boycott all future Olympics and refuse space exploration.

a lot of different ways to show you are proud to be an American, The prissy objection to someone draping a flag across their shoulders, who just won a game, is objectionable to me. But they have a right to their feelings.

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Terry Jacobsen 2 years, 2 months ago

Considering the wide disparity of reasons that people think it is good or bad to drape the flag over one's shoulders, I can see that there are many sides and points of view on this. Personally it doesn't bother me, but I can see how some people think more reverently of the flag. I suppose if I had lost a loved one who was fighting for ourcountry I would be more sensitive to the one icon that calls back my memories of that loss. Personally, I am just grateful for anyone who is patriotic and loves our country enough to be proud of who they are and where they are from. I am grateful to be an American, I know that I have enjoyed many privileges by virtue of being a citizen of this great land.

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