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October 13, 2003
Civics Ė 3rd period
The U.S. flag is simply composed of white cotton, dyed in our three colors, red, white and blue. It has nothing more and nothing less. It waves over almost every city and town in the United States, high above buildings or hung on the corner of a house. But this piece of material means more to Americans than just a sheet of cloth. People say that it has been fought for in wars but this is not necessarily true. We didnít fight for the flag, we fought for our country. The symbol of our country, the flag, is just a mobile symbol that reminds us of who we are as a country. It is the most universal symbol we have and one that we all have come to respect. Weíve looked to it in times of crisis. It has inspired many to compose songs and poems, has been prayed to in ceremonies, and was carefully placed in the middle of battlefields, the moon and on top of military caskets. And when someone burns this symbol of our country, it hits hard on many American hearts.
I\'m not a flag burner. I don\'t plan to burn the flag and I respect it. I even agree with people who say that flag burning is ineffective, misdirected, or improper. Some people choose to burn the flag. It is a controversial topic because some people are offended by that action. Supreme Court rulings have upheld that peaceful flag desecration is a form of political speech that should be protected by our Constitution. I agree. So I\'m not even trying to change anything. I like these laws the way they are. I\'m not fighting, or rallying, or trying to mess things up. And if the only reason to change the Constitution is to stop a few \'hippie protestors\' from burning flags, it\'s a very wasteful effort. They claim they want to "protect the flag," but the reason most flag-burner protestors burn the flag is to protest flag-burning laws. Very few people protest against wars and taxes by desecrating the flag. So if this is one of the only reasons that people burn the flag in the first place, then I say just let the issue drop. The worst part of all is that we can\'t pass and enforce laws against flag burning unless we modify the US Constitution and remove an important part of the First Amendment. I believe we should keep the law the way it is because if an amendment was to be added, it would be a drastic measure against a type of protest that occurs only about eight times a year.
But this is America, and free speech is one of the wonderful things about our country. No one is willing to give it up and are hesitant to take it away. In America, you can say whatever you want. It\'s protected, and always will be. You can rant and rave swear words until you are blue in the face, and you will only receive glares and shaking heads. Itís a right that we have and one that everyone is thankful for. And now you can burn the flag if you choose. No one will stop you legally, and you can protest peacefully. But for most of us, it just isnít right to burn the flag. Something inside of us tells us that itís not right so we hold back. Some things in this country are just illegal but others are just no-noís. You can still do them but just ďas tombstones are not for toppling, nor churches for vandalizing, flags are not for burning.Ē
Some people would like peaceful political protestors who burn the flag to be thrown in prison. That\'s not the kind of action that a "free country" takes. In America, we don\'t put people in jail for protesting against the government. That\'s what they do in Afghanistan, China, or Iraq. Now and then someone will burn a flag to protest a war, or a law, or something. We should be strong enough as a country to accept criticism and allow some people to offend us now and then. And so I agree with the law as it stands Ė
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