The Fourth of July is this coming Saturday, and like any red-blooded American, I’m pumped. There’s nothing quite like people coming together to celebrate our country, and seeing that many patriots out and about would make any proud American smile.
Despite this, I’m dreading the day because I know that one disturbingly popular trend will emerge as soon as the phones come out and the pictures go up. Girls across the country, regardless of their political affiliation, will partake in the act of draping the American flag around their bodies to pose for pictures in what they think is the most American way possible.
I don’t want to be too quick to judge these girls. When I was little, my dad repeatedly lectured us on the importance of treating the American flag with an appropriate amount of respect. Even though I was exposed to the Flag Code from a young age, I don’t expect that everyone else stressed the importance of honoring the flag to their children. I can’t hate on people who weren’t raised in a home that taught the value of flag etiquette. I can, however, preach what I know is true.
It is undeniably disrespectful for you to wrap yourself in the American flag.
It is not your blanket, it is not an accessory, and it is not okay for you to use it to gain likes on Instagram. It’s more than a flag, despite the fact that you can head over to Walmart and pick one up for less than ten dollars. It’s a representation of the United States of America, and a salute to those who have served and are serving to protect it. If you love this country and respect what it stands for, as well as the men and women who have put their lives on the line to keep it safe, you should not use the American flag as a piece of clothing or a blanket. It is just flat out wrong.
I know that by saying this, I put myself at risk of sounding like another one of those obnoxious, way too easily offended loud mouths who preaches about my opinion to strangers on the internet. But this is totally different; these aren’t just my personal thoughts and feelings on the matter. The Flag Code clearly states that it should not be used as drapery, and we as Americans should respect the standards of respect that those in charge placed on the flag that represents our nation.
There is a big difference between revering the flag out of admiration and exploiting it to gain popularity on social media. I don’t know why people in our generation don’t revere our nation’s symbol they way that they should, but we can’t keep allowing people to treat it like an ornament. That is definitely not the way to handle the flag, and we are better than that.
So, when your friend proposes that you two burrito yourself in the stars and stripes for a photo op, think about the meaning behind it first. Consider the active duty soldiers and veterans, and ponder how they would want you to treat the American symbol. Think about how you regard our country, and then politely remind her that it’s not okay to utilize the flag for such a superficial reason. The flag deserves better, as do the people who protect what it stands for..