Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Flag and the Constitution

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Flag and the Constitution

Article excerpt

The edges of the singed cloth wrinkled and blackened. A small stream of white smoke rose from the smoldering material before pieces of the cloth burst into flames. The once vibrant colors, red, blue and pristine white, all shared the same common fate - turning to ash and disappearing.

The scene described above was that of an American flag burning, not in Beruit, or Cuba or even the Soviet Union a few years ago, but in the United States; and not by non-Americans, but by American citizens in the 1990s. Furthermore, this action is condoned, protected, by the U.S. Constitution, under the First Amendment, which guarantees Freedom of Speech and expression.

Initially, before completing research on this topic, I firmly believed that burning the American flag should never be permitted, and when it occurs, some sort of punishment should result. After all, our soldiers risk their lives every day to defend the flag. We raise our voices in allegience to flag and country at nearly all major events in the United States. We beam with pride when the flag is raised over our Olympic victors. And one of the United State's most notable statues is that of the flag being raised over by Marines during World War II.

Now, after extensive research and thought, while I would never burn our flag or condone such an act, I allow that burning the American flag is protected by the First Amendment as a rightful expression of free speech and thought in the United States.

My position on this issue rests with the answer to, "What is a flag, anyway?" A flag is a symbol and, as a symbol, has a symbolic value and representation. It stands for the Constitution, which we value, and part of the Constitution is the First Amendment, freedom of speech. Hence, denying the right to express one's self by burning the American flag denies the symbolic meaning and value that the flag holds. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.