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posted: 9/29/2012 4:40 AM

Don't lower the flag willy nilly

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I find it interesting that people get upset when someone burns an American flag in protest when there is flagrant abuse of the flag in this country every day. We all should have learned in second grade that there are rules that govern the use of the American flag: It must not fly in the rain or touch the ground or fly at night unless it is lit or worn as clothing. And when it is old and tattered, it must not be flown. It is to be burned, respectfully.

It used to be that the president would make an announcement during a disaster or a crisis that the flag would be lowered and for how many days. I believe it flew at half-staff for a month after the assassination of President Kennedy. Now it seems anyone can decide when to fly the flag at half-staff and no one passing by understands why. I was told that during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the flag would be lowered whenever a soldier died ... or was it whenever a soldier from your state died?

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The flying of a flag at half-staff used to be used sparingly and for momentous occasions. We all didn't get to decide when. I understand the sometimes over-the-top outpouring of support for the troops abroad. I see it as a reaction to the shameful way our troops in Vietnam were treated on their return home. But everyone who dies in the military on foreign soil is not a hero. Some were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We need to rethink what constitutes a hero. And we need to rethink our use of the flag or else flying it or lowering it is meaningless and dishonors everyone.

Sandra Wittman

Carpentersville

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