Liberally Conservative

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free....... ~Ronald Reagan~

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Honoring Our Fallen Soldiers

Only 20 states currently honor our fallen soldiers by lowering the United States flag to half-staff. (Confirming). There is a controversy when it's done and much of it is political. States such as Oregon, Minnesota, California, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Kentucky, South Dakota, Texas and Maine practice lowering flags for soldiers from their states who give the ultimate sacrifice. This practice is justified and honorable.
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One could hope politics would be kept out of this and people would reflect, in honor, of the sacrifice alone. The key word here is "honor."
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The U.S. Flag Code, adopted in 1942, says governors may honor state "officials" after they die by lowering the flag. We would refer to states rights and hope more states would enact laws reflecting the actions of the other 16 states.
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If lowering the flag for elected officials is ok, it certainly should be a practice for soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the security and freedoms we enjoy in this country. Our soldiers should be placed in much higher esteem than government officials and politicians.
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Critics claim the act of lowering the flag for fallen soldiers is to place notice on a war many believe is unpopular. If this is true it's terrible and we hope the general public would look at it as an honor only.
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In an interview, Michigan Democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm denies this, saying she first thought to lower flags when a state employee lost his nephew in 2003, and asked for the tribute at his state work site. Governor Granholm decided to honor all soldiers from Michigan and to do it statewide. Since her proclamation in December 2003, Gov. Granholm has ordered the flag lowered for 72 soldiers who've died. She called all 72 families in advance to tell them about the flag tribute, she says.
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Governor Granholm's opponent in the November election, Republican Dick DeVos, indicated through a spokesman that, if elected, he would lower the flag for "officials," as designated by the Flag Code, but not for soldiers.
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Mr. DeVos should think over his opinion and suggest enacting legislation to make lowering the flag for fallen soldiers state law. I repeat, if it's good enough for politicians it should be required for fallen members of the United States Armed Forces.
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Some who have successfully lobbied for flag tributes have been open about their antiwar goals. Paul Vogel of Barrington, Ill., has a son who served in Iraq. Mr. Vogel is now a peace activist with Military Families Speak Out.
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In 2004, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, said it was Mr. Vogel who helped persuade him to lower flags at state buildings for fallen Illinois National Guardsman. Mr. Vogel says he sees the half-staff tribute as both "anti-war" and "pro-soldier" -- and a reminder that "for a country at war, we seem benignly unaware of the cost." He hopes the lowered flags convince Americans that "we've sacrificed enough of our 19- and 20-year-olds to this illegal war."
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We are sorry for Mr. Vogels loss and personal sacrifice but his reasoning is selfish and misplaced.
Mr. Vogel's personal politics had nothing to do with the governor's decision to lower flags, says Gerardo Cardenas, a spokesman for Governor Blagojevich. The governor was concerned about the need to honor soldiers' sacrifices "especially when the federal government is leaving millions of veterans behind," says his spokesman.
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We can only hope Governor Blagojevich is being honest in his decision and explanation. Chicago's Mayor Daley supports the war on terrorism and his son's decision to volunteer for active duty service. It's probable the Mayor would see lowering the flag as a tribute not a formal protest.
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Rick Johnson, a Democratic state representative in Missouri, unsuccessfully tried this year to pass a bill requiring flags to be lowered when soldiers from the state are killed.
xxx Rep. Johnson, a veteran of the first Persian Gulf War, says that in the current conflict, "we went to war under false pretenses." Unable to get his bill passed, Rep. Johnson has kept a flagpole in his backyard at half-staff for two years, as a tribute to all soldiers who've died. Respectfully, Representative Johnson should keep his personal beliefs about any war out of legislature and not dishonor soldiers who believe otherwise.
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Democrats and Republicans alike who have tried and failed to pass state law to have the flag lowered to half-staff as a protest are misquided fools. Their attempt to this type of protest is an insult to our soldiers and their state as a whole.
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Paying tribute to all Veterans and special tributes on non-holidays to fallen soldiers should be non-political and respectful. State government officials should do the right thing and make it a law to honor and respect our fallen men and women of the Armed Forces by flying Old Glory at half-staff.
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If you have a list of all 20 states participating in flag-lowering please place your information in the comments section of this post.
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3 Comments:

Anonymous TGG said...

Dick DeVos is basically shooting himself in the foot, but he can hardly help it. Don't get me wrong here, I don't support him, but it's hardly his fault. He lives in a mansion closer to Bill Gates' house than anything else in Michigan. He didn't earn his wealth, and he really doesn't know how to keep it. He doesn't understand work. His wife said Michiganders are paid too much when she was Mich GOP party chair, and it's frightening to consider that her political skills are better than his. So I don't fault him for getting the flag call so unbelievably wrong. But I don't want him to be governor.

7/04/2006 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Liberally Conservative said...

Apparantly Mr. DeVos changed his tune on the flag, he is learning it pays to lie in politics.

I'm sure he has had lots of practice elsewhere.

7/04/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous TGG said...

Hehe, I am sure that's true.

7/05/2006 09:25:00 AM  

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