Flag Burning Fad

I have been reading many posts today about people burning and desecrating our beloved United States flag. Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would be so crass as to think that’s even remotely okay. I completely understand our younger generation especially is frustrated with the Government right now. Millennials don’t seem to comprehend how the political machine functions, which is really sad and something I blame on the school system. In fact, I just asked my 12 year old daughter today (who is in the 6th grade) if she even has a history class. She informed me that they don’t start teaching history until the 7th grade! 

I remember when I was in school. History was actually one of my favorite subjects… next to English, of course. I especially loved ancient history and learning about human civilizations pre-Christianity and pre-Muslim. We learned about the two World Wars, Vietnam, the Korean War, the Civil War, the War of 1812, and of course… the Revolutionary War. I learned about the history of the American flag and it’s very powerful symbolism when it comes to the freedoms we enjoy today in America. When you see our flag, you feel safe because you know how much blood was shed so that She could fly free and proud over this land. Before you start asking things like “What about the people who were here before who had their land stolen.” I will head you off right now by saying that is NOT the point behind my writing this, and that’s a story for another day (not that I don’t take Native American history seriously… I do. In fact, I have Native ancestry myself and advocate on behalf of that heritage, because I know the Tribal injustices that still continue to this day). This story is about our flag and the punks who take it for granted in this day and age.

It truly does hurt my heart and soul when I see photos or videos circulating showing people…. Our OWN people… burning, stomping on, maiming, defecating on, urinating on, or treating it in various other disrespectful manners. 95% of the time (possibly even more) it’s our youth doing it, too. As if it’s some new fad in order to get their video or photo to go viral! I’m almost certain that because the schools focus less on history these days, to our youth, the flag is nothing more than a piece of cloth that flies over schools and other Government buildings. These kids equate the flag with the Government, and while this is true to a degree, it’s so much more! I’m hoping that just cleared up the beginning of this post, and why I was speaking of schools and history class.

My father was in the Army when he was 19, in 1955. He would tell me very little about his days in the Army, and I know something traumatic must have happened to him there with as heavily as he drank and the fact that he would always change the subject when I would ask him about those days. He had started college to become a Pharmacist at USC (his nickname was “Trojan Man,” haha), when he was drafted. He told me that every morning at bugle call, and 04:00 hours SHARP, the men in his barracks had to be up, dressed, and ready for Flag Duty. This was during Boot Camp, of course. He wasn’t on the Color Guard, but he WAS responsible for helping to gingerly unfold the flag, attach it to the pole, and raise it as everyone saluted it. Every night at 20:00 hours (8:00pm) they would go back to the pole, lower the flag and dismount her from her rope, and with a lot of pomp and circumstance he and another of his barrack mates would just as gingerly fold the flag in a triangle. That flag had to be folded just right, meaning that there could be ZERO red and/or white showing. Just a blue triangle spangled with stars. If the stripes could be seen, they would have to unfold and refold until it was exactly correct, otherwise it would cut into everyone’s mess time. For those of you who aren’t familiar with some of the military terms, the mess hall was where you were generally served SOS (aptly nicknamed “Shit On a Shingle”), which was chipped meat in a white gravy sauce slopped over a piece of toast. My dad would tell me that the more you cut into the men’s mess time (which was already short to begin with), you would usually wake up in the middle of the night sans pillow, blanket, and socks! So yes, they took flag duty VERY seriously. Why? Because it was an honor and a privilege to be charged with such a duty. If it touched the ground at all, the men were taken for disciplinary action which usually consisted of scrubbing the bathroom with little more than a toothbrush.

As far as I know, my dad never saw active duty, even though he was stationed in France and could be called to fight in Korea at any given time. In fact, my oldest brother was born on the base in Verdun to my father and his first wife, Donna. Since my dad had to be over there for 2 years, the second Donna found out she was pregnant with my brother, my dad arranged with the Army to fly her to France to stay with him until he was sent back home to the US.

As you can see, for ME, the flag holds great significance after learning this from my dad, and I was always taught that no matter how upset you may be with the Government, that flag represents the free world. So yes, I get very upset when I see videos of these little thugs doing unspeakable things to Her. The way they disgrace the flag tells me that they really don’t understand how free we really are here, even though at times it may not seem like it. We are the one country on this beautiful Earth where we can worship who and what we want, and aren’t forced to be members of any one religion. Our women can vote, run for high office positions up to and including the Presidency. Our women can drive, wear skimpy clothing, drive cars, walk the streets without a male chaperone, and even raise a family on her own. It is not against the law to be Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, or Transsexual. Our people can hold office no matter their sexual identity (I.E. Harvey Milk). Our Government doesn’t intrude into our personal lives unless there is an actual reason (I.E. suspected of having ties to terrorist organizations). Yet we do have people in this country who wish to take away those freedoms, or suppress our Constitutional rights. As a registered Democrat, I am sad to say it seems that the Liberal side is the one who wants to stomp out those rights, which to me is very disturbing. I see it more and more on social media with the attitude of “do and say what you want, unless you disagree with me.” The Liberal side appears to be the flag burning instigator, which strikes me as bizarre because in doing so, they are “protesting” the Government, while wanting BIGGER Government along with all of it’s freebies. I honestly think that these people are less Liberal and more Socialist, which means they want to be guided and told what to do by Government structure while at the same time speaking out against it. I have come to learn through observing what’s going on in the world that more often than not, Socialist countries have a foothold in Communist ideals. It’s really not that much of a leap when you think about it. Socialist and Communist countries alike will have Socialized programs such as healthcare… effectively, they take your tax money and then tell you how to live, where to work, when to work, how you can travel, where you can travel, how many children you can have. The Government has ultimate control over the lives of the constituents. While yes, we do have socialized programs in the United States, we have found a way to maintain them without forcing it on everyone. Welfare is meant to get you back on your feet during tough financial times, but it’s not mandatory. That’s what was so scary about the Obamacare (AKA The Affordable Healthcare Act), by requiring everyone to maintain health insurance or else pay the tax penalty at the end of the year. 

Our Millennials reached adulthood during the 8 years of President Obama. They went from mom and dad taking care of them to the Government taking care of them, so naturally they don’t want anything to change because that would mean they have to stand on their own two feet just like the older generation had to. Now that they are facing the reality of a smaller Government, which would force them to fend for themselves, it’s no wonder they are freaking out and protesting because they weren’t raised with the tools and values we had in order to make it in life. I would love to teach these kids what real Socialism and/or Communism is like, and what it would be like to live under one of those regimes. We need more people to speak in schools who have defected from countries like Russia, North Korea, or pretty much ANYWHERE in the Middle East so they can teach these kids that it’s not the Utopian lifestyle they have fantasized it to be. Perhaps then, they would learn to have a little more respect for the flag and what She stands for. They would realize that She flies over this land as a symbol of the blood that was shed to become a Nation where we had our own Government, women can walk and talk freely and be independent, the LGBTQ Community doesn’t have to fear death under State sanctions…. Christians, Jews, Pagans, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Atheists, Scientologists, and Satanists can all worship (or not) freely either at home or a Temple, without fear of persecution. They would have more understanding as to WHY some of our freedoms have been scaled back; not because of a power trip, but because countries who don’t like the Western way of life has put us at risk and our Government is trying to keep our country safe. I don’t necessarily agree with everything that goes on in D.C. myself, and I think that things could be done in a more intelligent manner with the right leaders, but I’m not going to disgrace our country because I’m having a temper tantrum to get attention.

So if you are thinking that burning the one symbol of the things we have, think about the countries that DON’T have what we do. Just the other day, I was reading an article from a North Korean defector who has now been in the USA for a few years and is proudly working on his citizenship LEGALLY. His story was horrifying, because North Korea is basically a country that has been turned into a minimum security prison that houses millions of innocent civilians, complete with Concentration “Death” Camps for those who don’t follow the rules. Every home is REQUIRED to have a picture of the regime’s founder on display in a clean and well kept picture frame. Military Police come do a weekly house check, and one little crack in the glass on said frame will land you in one of the Concentration Camps. Sometimes, that little crack is punishable by death! No religion is allowed… it’s an Atheist country. You are ONLY allowed to worship the founder. Food for the people is rationed out, and outside of the capital city of Pyongyang, people are literally starving to death. A very minor infraction means you may lose your food rations for the week. Dictator “Fatty Kim” makes WWII Germany (and even the Middle East) look like summer camp! Trying to leave the country for ANY reason outside of “State Sanctioned Travel” means death by firing squad, and if you happen to be lucky enough to make it out, you may as well consider yourself as having no family, because they will be massacred. Hell, even with all of their inhumane practices in the Middle East, those countries even have more freedoms than North Korea with it’s Totalitarian regime.

Please think very VERY hard about this next time you want to say you are oppressed in America, because believe me when I tell you, you most certainly are NOT. Think about this next time you want to control what other people think, say, or do. Definitely think about this next time you want to burn our beautiful flag, because THAT symbol means that you do not have to mind your P’s and Q’s every second of the day with the constant threat of a long and painful death hanging over your head or the heads of your loved ones. As much as some people want to play the oppressed “victim” here, the only true “oppression” is in their minds. With that being said, I bid you peace, and I hope I have given you something to think long and hard about.

~Kristi Sustrick~


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