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Letter: We should respect many ways to honor our flag and country

On Nov. 11, this nation will honor its veterans who are serving or have served the United States. Love is the chain once linked together that will never look down on another person. Remember, it is their shoulders and backs we now stand on.

Our flag is a symbol of freedom, the freedom to express both joy and sorrow. The flag of any country is representative of its culture as a symbol of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, for an individual or a group. Although it varies from country to country, it remains a sign of respect and honor. Men and women fought with courage and dignity and have received the flag in respect for their service to country.

At ceremonies, flags are carried high to identify their country. At the death of a soldier, the flag is draped upon the coffin and later given to the family as a memorial for service rendered. In the case of a high official or dignitary, the flag is flown at half-staff to honor all service personnel. In each of these instances, some people salute, others place their hand across their chest and still others respond by lowering their head or dropping to their knees. It is all a sign of honor or respect.

To stand or kneel, or to salute, is a sign of active duty personnel. To place a hand over one’s chest is for non-active personnel. Both are a sign of recognition, honor and respect.

To kneel is a humbling gesture, and for me, not disrespectful, no more so than to disrespect the living or the dead. Nothing saddens my heart more than to hear or see a distraught wife or mother lying across the casket holding the flag, or a child facing uncertain days without a father or mother. It resonates throughout eternity. 

This isn’t time to play the blame game. Someone suggested sensitivity training is needed for some. I beg to differ, for I see common sense is what’s in order. Why destroy the flag by trying to disrespect the person’s memory or gave his life for the country of freedom, or the family left behind? 

We don’t all have to agree or even like one another, but we must learn to love ourselves. In return, we will love other as we want others to respect each other.

The Rev. Evelyn Johnson


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