From the Left- The Daily Commercial: As we celebrate Flag Day, let’s not forget insurrectionists who defiled Old Glory

Mary Sharpe Guest columnist

Monday is Flag Day, the day set aside by Congress to honor the fluttering symbol of our country. Our flag is very important to us. We are taught to honor the flag and pledge allegiance to it when we are very young. We say the Pledge of Allegiance every day in our schools. So how did we get from that innocent devotion to the abuse of our flag displayed on Jan. 6?

Republicans have always shown an over-the-top devotion to our flag. And now they have begun wrapping themselves in Old Glory and using it as a shield to do some very unpatriotic things.

They have faked outrage when anyone, particularly people of color, showed any disrespect for it. They were angered beyond reason when athletes knelt on one knee instead of standing for the National Anthem in an act of silent protest against police brutality. That controversy went on for months with people screaming that “Blue Lives Matter”.

So I was deeply disappointed when our fellow citizens, who claim patriotism so avidly that they possess huge American flags, used those flags on Jan. 6 as a backdrop for their crimes. In a supreme act of irreverence, they mixed our flag with other flags, Trump campaign flags, Blue Lives Matter flags, and sadly Confederate flags – a recognized symbol of domestic terrorism.

In an act of warped patriotism, they completely abandoned their professed values and used their personal copies of our flag to break windows and beat up police officers while desecrating the seat of our government. A very different type of disrespect than simply taking a knee on the sidelines of a football game. Even though some of those same protesters had formerly screamed that “Blue Lives Matter”, on that day blue lives did indeed not matter.

It was a crime that we all witnessed in horror. They came dressed for battle. They were going to war with our country. But shouldn’t their inner patriotism have given them pause? When they were getting dressed and traveling to Washington, shouldn’t the gravity of what they were about to do have caught up with their anger over a lost election? Shouldn’t the words of the Pledge of Allegiance have rung in their ears as they picked up their flags and laid siege to our Capitol?

Patriotism is not about the size of the flag on the pole outside, but the one stamped on your soul.  Shouldn’t that little flag burned onto their soul have caused them to drop those other flags?

It has been five months since the insurrection and Republicans are blocking the investigation into the crime. For Republicans to deny Americans the right to know the truth and attempt to escape their own culpability is just unbelievable. After the Civil War we had to purge our society and our congress of sympathizers and we have cause to do that now.

Jan. 6 was not just an attack on our Capitol, it was an attack on all of us. Those of us with the big flag in our yard, those who stand with their hand over their heart at football games, those who take a knee, those who have served our country and those who serve it now as military, police, or emergency workers and to every child in this country as they learn the words of the Pledge of Allegiance.

When do you decide that the flag no longer matters?  It is not what you say, it is what you do.

Democrats cannot just “let it go” as Republicans want us to do.  They have attempted to blame it on “Antifa” which stands for anti-fascist. Antifa as a group simply doesn’t exist.  The last time there was an organized group of “Antifa” they were not storming the Capitol of the United States but the beaches of Normandy to rid the world of fascism. 

Not far from that capitol building there is a statue erected to those anti-fascists as they showed their supreme reverence for our flag by struggling to raise it from the ashes at Iwo Jima. An image also burned into our memory.

We cannot forsake our reverence for the flag like the insurgents. We must be true to our country and honor our flag with the reverence depicted on that memorial. In the face of this horrible disrespect for our flag, we cannot simply let it go.


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