Flag deserves respect; Lil’ Wayne does not
On Flag Day, June 14, the local American Legion respectfully retired old, worn-out United States flags in a special ceremony held each year. The date also served as the 238th birthday of the United States Army.
Approximately 40 people gathered for the ceremony, held at the Southwest Louisiana War Veterans Home. It was a fitting place to retire the flags, as the residence serves as home to many of our local war heroes – heroes who sacrificed years of their lives; spent time away from their families; and lost limbs and loved ones while proudly representing “Old Glory” faithfully.
The United States Flag Code outlines certain guidelines for the use, display, and disposal of the American flag. For example, the flag should never be dipped to any person or thing, unless it is the ensign responding to a salute from a ship of a foreign nation. This tradition may come from the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, where countries were asked to dip their flag to King Edward VII: the American flag bearer did not.
The flag should never be allowed to touch the ground and, if flown at night, must be illuminated. If the edges become tattered through wear, the flag should be repaired or replaced. When a flag is so tattered that it can no longer serve as a symbol of the United States, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner, preferably by burning.
To reiterate American flag etiquette, “When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms” – not the bottom of rapper Lil’ Wayne’s boots.
Recent video footage showed the rapper walking all over an American flag while shooting his new music video for “God Bless Amerika” in New Orleans.
Thousands of critics turned to the Internet to blast Lil’ Wayne for “desecration” of the flag, accusing the singer of being unpatriotic; others defended the rapper, reminding critics of the First Amendment to the Constitution – freedom of speech.
Lil’ Wayne didn’t apologize for his actions, but did say he never intended to desecrate the flag.
“The clip that surfaced on the Internet was a camera trick clip that revealed that behind the American Flag was the Hoods of America. In the final edit of the video you will see the flag fall to reveal what is behind it but will never see it on the ground,” the rapper stated on Facebook.
A behind-the-scenes clip of the music video “God Bless Amerika” shows the hip-hop artist performing in front of the flag before it is dropped, revealing a group of people behind it. As the flag falls to the ground, Lil’ Wayne continues to perform the song, seemingly knowing he is walking on the fringes of the flag.
And while veterans just like the ones who reside at the Southwest Louisiana War Veterans Home in Jennings fought to preserve Lil’ Wayne’s First Amendment right to disrespect the flag, they also deserve a little respect for their sacrifices.
“God Bless America” (not Amerika), and God bless all those who have fought to protect freedom – including Lil’ Wayne’s.
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