Sunday, May 27, 2007

About the Flag

FORGERS 14. Well meaning nincompoops are still nincompoops. The nincompoops on Fox & Friends thought this was a truly fine and transcendant idea (and please note the date):

May 17, 2007

Saying he was frustrated with the public's fascination with low-grade celebrities in a time of war, the city manager of Long Beach ordered Thursday that city flags be flown at half-staff to honor soldiers who died in Iraq.

City Manager Edwin Eaton said he consulted informally with the five-member City Council before issuing the order, which will remain in effect until further notice. "Obviously, not forever," Eaton said.

"While our society and media outlets appear to be consumed by the antics and activities of dysfunctional personalities and the 'glitterati,' we tend to forget that each day Americans are anonymously dying in Iraq," Eaton said in a memo to city department heads.

"I think it only fair that they be remembered and honored. To achieve that end, we hereby direct that American flags throughout the city be flown at half-mast," the memo read.

Eaton, a self-described "draft avoider" in the Vietnam era, said in an interview that he felt he had to do something after watching "Entertainment Tonight" and other media outlets focus on celebrities who have little talent except for getting themselves in the public eye...

Traditionally, the American flag is flown at half-staff for the death of a former president or other prominent figure, and on Memorial Day or other designated days of mourning.

What probably gave Eaton the idea was the ill-conceived decision some weeks ago to fly the flag at half-staff in Virginia after the mass murders there. Another well meaning act of self-flagellation (pun intended).

The problem with Eaton's idea is that it's completely wrong. Out troops do not go into battle carrying the flag at half-staff. The iconic image of the flag that inspires and exemplifies the ideals they are fighting for is never at half-staff. It is a proud and audacious banner that countless men in our armed forces have died trying to raise and keep aloft under the most terrible battlefield onslaughts imaginable. And it is precisely in those moments which most test our resolve and national spirit that the rest of us should be the most determined to fly the flag at the very top of the staff.

On Memorial Day, we specifically remember those who have fallen defending our flag by lowering it for a day. But to honor them truly the remainder of the year, it's our duty to hold the standard high, as they have done and continue to do far more courageously than we ever can.

Supporting the troops also means honoring what the troops are fighting for.

A thought to consider this Memorial Day.

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