Cleveland Plain Dealer, what’s gotten into you?


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.

Reported in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a better flag folding script:

The Air Force revised its Honor Guard manual in January to include this historical script for flag folding ceremonies such as retirements and school presentations.

• • •

For more than 200 years, the American flag has been the symbol of our nation’s unity, as well as a source of pride and inspiration for millions of citizens.

Born on June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress determined that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternating between seven red and six white; and that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation.

Between 1777 and 1960, the shape and design of the flag evolved into the flag presented before you today. The 13 horizontal stripes represent the original 13 colonies, while the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well; red symbolizes hardiness and valor; white signifies purity and innocence; and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.

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.

Today, our flag flies on constellations of Air Force satellites that circle our globe, and on the fin flash of our aircraft in harms way in every corner of the world. Indeed, it flies in the heart of every Airman who serves our great Nation. The sun never sets on our U.S. Air Force, nor on the flag we so proudly cherish.

Since 1776, no generation of Americans has been spared the responsibility of defending freedom. Today’s airmen remain committed to preserving the freedom that others won for us, for generations to come.

By displaying the flag and giving it a distinctive fold we show respect to the flag, and express our gratitude to those individuals who fought, and continue to fight for freedom, at home and abroad. Since the dawn of the 20th century, airmen have proudly flown the flag in every major conflict on lands and skies around the world. It is their responsibility — our responsibility — to continue to protect and preserve the rights, privileges and freedoms that we, as Americans, enjoy today.

The United States flag represents who we are. It stands for the freedom we all share and the pride and patriotism we feel for our country. We cherish its legacy, as a beacon of hope to one and all. Long may it wave.

3 Responses to Cleveland Plain Dealer, what’s gotten into you?

  1. […] blog with good points.  http://wp.me/p1dDS-jy Among other things this poster asks why not just use the script that US Air Force has been using […]

    Like

  2. nubispertusus says:

    Nice piece

    Like

  3. […] Cleveland Plain Dealer, what’s gotten into you? […]

    Like

Please play nice in the Bathtub -- splash no soap in anyone's eyes. While your e-mail will not show with comments, note that it is our policy not to allow false e-mail addresses. Comments with non-working e-mail addresses may be deleted.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: