My brothers in journalism at the usually sensible Cleveland Plain Dealer have lost their journalistic senses.
In an editorial this morning, the paper supports, defends and calls for the reinstatement of the inaccurate, insulting and embarrassing flag folding script that the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemeteries finally, belatedly but justly, stopped promulgating a few weeks ago.
In the words of the Plain Dealer:
Those are not just folds in a meaningless fabric or empty words spoken at the grave site. They represent honor, continuity with the past, traditions to be preserved, even when some of the words may quietly be set aside for families who wish a different approach.
America’s military men and women put on the line not just life and limb, but often precious time with their children, higher pay or easier jobs, help to a spouse or an aging parent. They do so to serve their country. Their recompense when they get home is a veterans system at best struggling to meet crescendoing needs for medical, rehabilitative and psychiatric care – and now with a tin ear for what matters.
Except that they ARE meaningless words in the script, violative of tradition and law, historically inaccurate, and insulting to the memory of patriots like George Washington. They do not honor the past, portraying a false past instead. The ceremony is not traditional, having been written only in the past three decades or so. The script departs radically from the historic path of America’s patriots, defending freedom without regard to profession of faith.
Christians, Jews, Moslems, atheists and others put their lives on the line to defend this nation. They didn’t ask that their memories be fogged with silly and historically inaccurate glop.
The Air Force has a flag folding script that does not bend history or assault anyone’s religion. If someone wants to use a ceremony, why not that one? The accurate, Air Force version honors America’s veterans:
Traditionally, a symbol of liberty, the American flag has carried the message of freedom, and inspired Americans, both at home and abroad.
In 1814, Francis Scott Key was so moved at seeing the Stars and Stripes waving after the British shelling of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry that he wrote the words to “The Star Spangled Banner.”
In 1892, the flag inspired Francis Bellamy to write the “Pledge of Allegiance,” our most famous flag salute and patriotic oath.
In July 1969, the American flag was “flown” in space when Neil Armstrong planted it on the surface of the moon.
Why does the Plain Dealer choose a religious screed that insults history over a script that accurately honors all of America’s veterans?
The full text of the newer, accurate ceremony is below the fold.
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