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Letter to the Editor: Fly Our Flag on Flag Day and on the 4th of July

The views stated here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors of this newspaper. We welcome supporting or opposing views on any published item. Received June 6, 2024.

Whenever I see an American flag, my spirit swells with reverence and pride.  It started in early childhood reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at Haddam Elementary School in the 1970s.

During Brownies and Girl Scouts at the Higganum United Methodist Church and at Camp Higganumpus at Girl Scout Point, we started each day with a color guard presenting the colors.  We recited the Pledge of Allegiance. At the end of gatherings, we’d lower the flag, singing Taps.  Each of us learned to keep the flag off the ground and how to fold it correctly. We carried the flag in our town’s beloved Memorial Day Parade.

Later in my adult life, married to a man who served in the Army during the Gulf War, and who was a former police officer, this banner became even more personal to me. I am comforted by our stars and stripes, especially when I come back from overseas travel.

I love OUR flag.

Admitting that I love it might make some think I am part of the far right faction of our country who some believe have commandeered the American flag as a symbol for their “side.” Or, that I might don a t-shirt like the one I saw at this year’s Memorial Day Parade.  “Disrespect this, (picture of the flag) and get a boot in your a–!”  I don’t know how much more disrespectful one could be to the flag than to tack it on plywood signs with a guy’s name scrawled beneath it in spray paint!

Such a ubiquitous, aggressive display of our precious flag has enough people refusing to even fly the flag, or fear they’d be seen as “one of them.”

I met a young man selling plants in an area where many of his neighbors were prolific flag fliers and who had posted MAGA messages on their lawns. The man mentioned he was just dipping his toes into politics in his town. My husband and I told him we belonged to the Democratic Town Committee where we lived. Explaining he had to appease his neighbors by flying the flag, he quickly apologized for flying the American flag in his front yard.

“Don’t apologize,” I said. “It’s your flag, too!”

He is not the only one bowing to the pressure. My in-laws attend an “open and affirming” church. They decided to take down their American flag hanging beside the rainbow flag over their front entrance. “Some thought the American flag would be seen as offensive,” my father-in-law said, disgusted by the change.

What can we do?

Short of starting a viral campaign on TikTok (an internationally based company), I invite you to declare with me that the American flag belongs to all of us! Let’s dismantle any perception that it belongs to just a fraction of Americans. Start by flying your flag on Flag Day, June 14th, and on the 4th of July.

Fly it as an American Republican, or an American Democrat, or an American Independent, an American Believer or Atheist, and an American Straight or LGBTQIA+ person. Display it at your home, on the road, at your campsite. Carry it in parades along with all other multi-colored, meaningful banners. Fly it fearlessly at your business, church, synagogue or mosque.

“I pledge allegiance to OUR flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Tanja Moriarty, Higganum

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