Local News

Debate Over U.S. Flag Continues

Posted June 12, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— The American flag has been a symbol of our freedom for more than 200 years. Tomorrow is Flag Day, a time to celebrate everything Old Glory stands for. But some Americans say the flag is under fire right here on its own soil.

Veterans pledged their allegiance to Old Glory during a Flag Day celebration Sunday at the Elks Lodge in Raleigh.

Some believe the significance of the holiday is lost on too many Americans. The patriots paused to honor our flag, our country, and everything they stand for.

"I think Flag Day should mean a lot to everybody because I've been all over the world, and there's no question in my mind that this is the best country there is," declared retired Admiral Verle Klein.

Men who followed the American flag into battle want to protect it from protests. Veterans and members of the Elks Lodge are lobbying for laws that would make flag burning a crime.

"I don't think it's right. That flag is waving for their freedom. And they can do just about anything, but burn the flag? They should never be allowed to do it," veteran Wade Witham said.

But there's some disagreement about how to protect both the flag and individual rights. Congressman David Price supports a statute that would ban flag-burning.

"I think the way to protect the flag is to pass a statute that does pass Constitutional muster, and I'm hopeful we can do that," Price said. "I prefer to do it that way rather than amending the Bill of Rights."

Americans cherish their flag and their freedom. The flag is a symbol of both. The battle to protect it is one these Americans won't concede.

Price says Congress may consider the issue of flag protection as early as this summer.