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Reply to Steve Katsirubas

Thanks for responding to my flag burning page. I see that you have thoroughly perused the page, in contrast to most opposing views, who really don't take the time to think about the issue before firing off a nasty letter.

>It is really quite interesting to see how much suport you have
> for the issue, and the lack of people (or comments)for the proposed
>amendment measure. (coincidence?).

I don't think so. I post just about every comment I get. The majority of them just happen to support my views. I don't tend to post the comments which don't further the debate. These include the "flames" which I put on a separate page, and the compliments, which I just respond to. Many, many people write me every day and just say they loved the page and agree.

It may very well be that these do not reflect America's actualy feelings, however. Perhaps people on the Internet are mostly liberal - perhaps people who disagree choose not to visit the page in the first place. Perhaps they just don't feel like commenting. I don't know.

But I am asking for more input from the side that supports the issue. I even made a separate, easily accessible spot for their comments. I had hoped from the beginning that this would spark intelligent debate. Perhaps you can be one of the respondants to this challenge.

> The majority of the comments
>struck me as coming from people who never really, nor ever will understand
>the true meaning of the Flag of the United States of America. Including yourself.
OK. Let's discuss the true meaning of the Flag.

>Those of us that have served our country, the flag is a symbol of hope,
>life, and home.

Aside from a brief stint in ROTC, I've never served in the Armed Forces. My Dad's a retired USAF Major, so I was raised in a military environment. I think the flag is a symbol of our country, and of our freedom. I think this includes the freedom to express feelings against the country.

>I can think of no prouder time than returning from
>the desert of Kuwait to see flag waving crowds, everyone rallying behind
>this symbol of our great nation, then given a minature version
>by a small child. I wonder how that small child would feel if I took a match
> to his gesture of good will.

That child would probably be devastated. Let me ask you a question, though. Should that child's happiness be considered so important as to take precedence over the U.S. Constitution? Imagine that child had handed you a chocolate bar instead. And you crumpled it to bits, right in front of him. That would be cruel. Should we have laws preventing people from destruction of any meaningful item given as a present? I think not. Consider, also, the number of flags which must have been left behind in the wake of that event. The number which are left in baseball stadiums after the fireworks on the 4th. How were they disposed of? Should the janitors be arrested? I don't assume they gave the miniature flags the respectful retirement you speak of later.

>I respect your intent to protect the right to free speech. But why promnote the desecration
>of our national symbol?

OK. You may think I promote it just because I simulate it. You may also have a valid point. I do, however, say on my "purpose" page:
"The purpose of this page is not to encourage flag burning. Nor is it to promote wanton desecration of a symbol which many hold dear. It is, rather, to protest the imminent passage of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would allow Congress and the States to pass laws that the Supreme Court has already said are unconstitutional."

I personally think that in the wake of a proposed amendment of this stature, one needs to call attention to its faults. The media aren't giving it the attention it deserves. And the amendment itself is going to cause more flag-burning than anything this nation has seen, including the Vietnam War.

It certainly got your attention more than a simple newspaper article would have. (although I went that route, also.)

> it obviously means something to the voters.
>Ask almost any person on the street, and they will probably
>tell you the same.

I really disagree with that. Every person I've talked to (in person, and most via email) agrees with me. Most think flag burning is an obnoxious, offensive, disrespectful, non-productive method of expression. But almost all have said that it should not be a criminal act.

Even veterans (my dad, included) agree with me.

>A lot of people died serving under that flag,
>a little respect wouldn't hurt anyone.

I agree. I think we should respect the flag. I just don't think that respect should be mandated. It must be earned, and taught. Respect that comes from fear of retribution can never be honest.

> You and
>your small group of supporters need to take a long hard look
>at the direction this country is going in, and really think about
>how the stoppage of this amendement is really going to help

I think that passing it would be a grave mistake. I think if it is stopped, it will be forgotten quickly. There are certainly more important matters facing Congress right now. I think they should put this aside and start working on making this a better country. Maybe then, we'd all start to respect the flag a little more.

> Ever seen the IWO JIMA memorial??
>Quite a sight isn't it.

Yes, it is. Fills me with patriotic pride just like the fireworks on the 4th. Believe me, I love America.

>p.s. The proper way to burn a flag (if it has become old, worn,
>and unsightly) is to seperate the stars from the stripes and burn it
> as two separate items. Thus it is no longer a flag.

For this, may I refer you to The U.S. Code, 36 USC Sec. 176

"(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. "

The method you describe may well be a popular one, but it is not mandated. The traditional Boy Scout method was simply to lower it over a fire.

Warren S. Apel