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Flag Day: 'In My Country, We Are Not Afraid Of Freedom'

Forced or coerced patriotism is not really patriotic.
Flag Day: 'In My Country, We Are Not Afraid Of Freedom'
Image from: Marissa Babin

I thought it was important to point out on today, Flag Day, that legal precedent has always held that using coercion to force citizens to make the Pledge of Allegiance is, well, unAmerican.

Which reminded me of this famous piece by James H. Warner, a POW during the Vietnam War, in which he wrote:

I remember one interrogation where I was shown a photograph of some Americans protesting the war by burning a flag. "There," the officer said. "People in your country protest against your cause. That proves that you are wrong."

"No," I said. "That proves that I am right. In my country we are not afraid of freedom, even if it means that people disagree with us." The officer was on his feet in an instant, his face purple with rage. He smashed his fist onto the table and screamed at me to shut up. While he was ranting I was astonished to see pain, compounded by fear, in his eyes. I have never forgotten that look, nor have I forgotten the satisfaction I felt at using his tool, the picture of the burning flag, against him.

In my country, we are not afraid of freedom.

Some of us, anyway.

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