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Flag is more than just a symbol
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Editor, Reflecting on the flag of our country, The Stars and Stripes. I received an e-mail today, the subject of the e-mail was “American flag comes second.”
The e-mail showed pictures of Mexican protesters putting up the Mexican flag over the American flag on the same flagpole, and the American flag was upside down. This was not in Mexico; this was at Montebello High School in California on March 28, 2006, right on our own American soil.
At least the last time I looked California was a part of the United States and I know for sure it was on March 28, 2006. Now protocol clearly states you should never fly another countries flag higher then the flag of the country of who’s soil you are on; and then to have put our flag upside down.
As I was reflecting on what the American flag means to me, I do understand that to most Americans it is just a flag and why should we get upset over such a trivial thing. Having served my country as a soldier for 21 years I couldn’t let it stop there. My thoughts took me back to the times I was out of this country for extended periods of time and my excitement as I was flying back. Then when the airplane was landing seeing the American flag flying over the airport the thought would come to my mind, “I am home.” I didn’t matter what state or airport I was landing at. What mattered was I was on American soil.
Then my thoughts went to the POWs that returned from Vietnam after years of being in captivity, getting off the airplane and kissing the ground because it was America.
Can you imagine how they felt or what they thought when they saw the flag flying at the airport as they were landing. Service members returning from the wars and from assignments throughout the world know the feeling I am talking about. It’s not the flag; it’s what the flag stands for. It’s the love of this Country.
Stop and think of the thousands of Americans that have fought and died under this flag of ours so that we as Americans may enjoy the freedoms that were given us by our forefathers in the Constitution of this great country of ours.
Maybe we should take a second look at what happens to this flag of ours. It is full of a lot of blood from a lot honorable Americans. I know it upsets me to see on the news our flag burned by the hands of people who do not understand our way of life. There is nothing we can do about that.
We Americans can have control over what happens to her on our soil. The American flag is the most recognized flag in the world. We should be proud of her, but more so for what she stands for.

SFC Melvin “Butch” Kesner
US Army Retired
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