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HOW BEST TO HONOR OUR FLAG (House of Representatives - February 13, 1997)

[Page: H529]

(Mr. SKAGGS asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. SKAGGS. Mr. Speaker, respect and honor for the flag is a subject again before this House. How best do we do it?

As a Marine veteran, I cherish the symbol of our country's freedoms to which we pledged allegiance just a few minutes ago. But should we amend the Bill of Rights for the first time in our Nation's history? Should we eat into the guarantee of free speech that is the essence of this country in order to protect the flag? The answer is no.

Let us not fall into the mistake of elevating the symbol of our freedoms above our freedoms themselves. This country is strong enough to withstand dissent, even dissent expressed so offensively that it involves the desecration of the flag.

For those who want to reaffirm their love of country and flag, the gentleman from Arizona [Mr. Kolbe] and I are introducing a resolution today that does that but does not amend the Constitution.

Honor the flag? Absolutely. We honor it best by keeping the Constitution as it is. Honoring the freedom that we stand for best honors our flag.


Warren S. Apel