Letter: American flag demands respect
By Leo Voss, Fulda The flag of the United States of America is not made to be walked on, danced on, spit on, flown upside down or worn as clothing, nor is it made to be made in China and sold in the U.S. The flag is to be honored by all because i...
By Leo Voss, Fulda
The flag of the United States of America is not made to be walked on, danced on, spit on, flown upside down or worn as clothing, nor is it made to be made in China and sold in the U.S. The flag is to be honored by all because it is -- and was -- paid for by Americans who have their blood, sweat, tears and lives so that we may have the gift of freedom. If you look closely, you can find the American flag stamped and made in China. It is against the code of ethics, and the State of Minnesota has a law prohibiting the sale of the American flag not bearing the label “Made in America.” The penalty is or can be a $1,000 fine or 90 days in jail.
Millions of Americans, both men and women, took an oath to protect the American flag, even if their life was in jeopardy or if they lost their life. I was one of those who took that oath. I, like all others who take that oath, will keep and honor that oath. That oath has proven over and over on battlefields around the world to which we’ve been sent.
Millions have served in combat. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have given their lives. Hundreds of thousands of American military personnel have suffered wounds, and many of them have wounds that have permanently disabled them. Yet nearly 100,000 Americans are listed as POW/MIA. Sadly, there are some still being held against their will.
I served my nation in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967. After my release from active duty, I got involved in the POW/MIA issue. Soon after the release of POWs from the Vietnam War -- but not all of them -- I read an article about a prisoner from the state of Missouri. To make a long story short, he said: “The animals of the wild treat their captive prey with more honor and respect than the enemies that are holding the American POWs.”
The Vietnam War was very harsh and brutal on the POWs. To prove this point, read the book “The Bamboo Cage.” There is an article on the internet, “The Cuban program,” that takes about 10 minutes to read. Politicians say that waterboarding is inhumane, but I would take waterboarding at any time as opposed to what is called “ropes.” This is what most or all the POWs in the Hilton prison camp system in Hanoi experienced.
I witnessed a Senate hearing on POW/MIA issues. To hear what happened to them would make the best of us shed many tears. As that hearing, I met Capt. Eugene “Red” McDaniel, a tortured American POW. He was shot down on May 19, 1967, and was released on March 3, 1973. I asked him if all he went through was really worth it. He said there was something he had to show me. We walked through a crowd and he stopped before an American flag, and we both saluted it. He said to me, “Son, I would gladly spent every year that I was tortured -- every month, every week, every day, every hour, every minute and every second of torture -- all over again for the love of the American flag.”
Why I am writing this letter? It’s because a chain of stores in this area is selling a 45-inch American flag metal garden stake made in China. The stars are also on the wrong side of the American flag. I noticed this lawn ornament last fall, and I reported what was wrong with it and also about the code of ethics and violations. Nothing was done to correct the problem. I contacted them several times since then, as well as politicians at the state and federal levels. They did not return my telephone calls.
On Memorial Day weekend, these flags were still on display. I talked to the store manager about it again but was told he didn’t care. I then called the store’s owner in Marshall and he told me, too, that he didn’t care.
In another store’s advertisement, I saw a similar lawn ornament with the same flag arrangements. I called the store’s main offices in Sioux City, Iowa, and received an apology. The general manager said that if any veteran or concerned person was offended, he apologized. This telephone call was made at 8:30 a.m., and by noon all the company’s stores had been notified to remove all of these lawn ornaments. I and everyone else who has respect for the American flag want to say thank you. The American flag deserves honor and respect.