Flags of all kinds send strong messages
Plenty of American flags will be proudly displayed this weekend and shine under the glimmer of fireworks as Summit County and the rest of the country celebrate Independence Day.
The American flag is a symbol that represents the most basic and important tenets on which this country was founded and is still striving to achieve: freedom and equality for everyone, opportunity limited only by how hard one is willing to work. But recent events have made it clear the Red, White and Blue is not the only flag that has strong meaning attached to it.
Displaying the Confederate battle flag in southern states has come under fire during the past few weeks. A national debate about the connotations of the flag has raged after a 21-year-old white man walked into a black church in Charleston, S.C., and opened fire with a gun, killing nine people.
Supporters of the Confederate flag say it represents southern pride and heritage. Detractors counter that it is an emblem of racism, created and first flown by an army that fought the most destructive war ever on this country’s soil.
The Confederate flag carries a venomous message, one that separates people of different races in this country at a time we should all be striving to unite as Americans. It is important to uphold the free-speech rights of those who wish to display flags of all colors, but it is important to remove any symbols associated with violence or racism from state grounds public buildings. Likewise, retailers such as Walmart and Amazon have stopped selling merchandise adorned with the flag. Those actions make important statements.
Another flag has been prominent in the news, as well. The rainbow flag has come to define love and the struggle to make marriage a basic right for all citizens. For supporters, the flag encapsulates the emotions they felt last week when the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage, making it legal throughout the country. It’s another example of how po
werful a flag can be.
So when you’re displaying your American flag this weekend, we encourage you to do so with pride — but do not forget the weight a colored piece of cloth can carry. Recent weeks have shown that better than ever.
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