Wrapped in the Flag

Wrapped in the Flag Before sharing my opinion of those who wrap themselves in 'our' American Flag, I am talking about the real thing - Old Glory, not some 'image' of our National Banner on a T-Shirt intended for retail sales by some petty War Profiteer, let me first make it extremely clear that anyone who knows me will tell you that I would be the last person to 'volunteer' for THE FLAG POLICE.

Given my passionate oppositon to that diversion from Mandatory Funding of the VA, by the stagnant leadership of Nationalistic Organizations like the American Legion and VFW, the infamous Flag Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Yep, I would be the last Veteran on your block to be monitoring what you do or do not do with 'your' flag.

Wrapped in the Flag Does that mean that I condone desecration of Old Glory in any way, shape or form? NO! That said, the next time anyone at your local Bar and Bingo club tries to convince you that the U.S. Flag needs protection by an amendment to the Constitution, please tell them that (1) is not America's Veterans number one priority need or desire, and (2) there are more ways to desecrate the American Flag than burning, ripping, tearing, or throwing Chicken Hawk droppings on it...

What am I talking about when I get upset with ultra right-wing nuts taking it to the limit, making an Art out of, and obsession with wrapping themselves in the Flag. In all honesty, I sincerely do not believe this was intentional - just downwrong IGNORANCE!
This newspaper ad appeared in our local, small town gossip rag here in Beavercreek, the B...creek News-Current, with little retail sales or journalistic savvy, and surely knowing nothing about Flaq Etiquette published this ad. The photo from public domain is the closest example I could find to make a point. To barrow a phrase, I'll report - You Decide! What is WRONG with this picture.

Wrapped in the Flag You can give our troops a little piece of home.

Tobias Funeral Home makes it easy.

We all want the same thing, for our troops serving abroad to come back home safely. To help give the troops a little taste of home until then, Tobias Funeral Home is offering a program where you can provide items for a care package (such as toiletries, food and clothing), and to make it easier we'll supply the box, customs form, instructions and pay for shipping.

Step 1. Drop by to get a starter kit complete with box, customs form and instructions.

Step 2. Fill the box with your choice of approved goodies and complete the customs form. (The ad does not detail nor describe what exactly approved goodies means, so one has to call them, and that will not be ME!)

Step 3. Return the box and customs form to us between 12/4-12/6 (2007) and we'll take care of shipping. (That means folks have to provide a name and address to some GI serving in Iraq or Afghanistan to a Funeral Home that frankly is not authorized to have such info as location of any of our troops - DAH).

Please contact Tobias Funeral Home if you would like to show your support for the troops by participating.

Except for the parts I highlighted with my few comments on the ad, this Wrap a Funeral Home in the Flag come on is exactly as appeared in our Republican controlled and biased Hometown Newspaper in Southwestern Ohio.

OK-I reported now YOU DECIDE if the American Legion, VFW, plus any other Nationalistic organization needs to include this kind of petty War Profiteering in 'their' definition of Flag Desecration? It should be! However, I still would oppose it.

What I am about to tell you is how a sincere Patriot protects and defends Old Glory without being the Flag Police. You take ACTION regardless the consequences when you see that something is clearly WRONG!

My military families first reaction was what next?

Seriously, a few combat troops serving in the War Zone may deem this appropriate, however it is Sexist, and just because the young lady above has not blossomed yet does not make throwing Old Glory around either child any less desecrating to the Flag. Thus the next time any Veterans Organization wants to convince you that WE need a Flag Amendment, by all means PLEASE ensure the leadership of that VSO understand, and LEAD instead of making political hay. Demand that corporate and retail sales come ons in bad taste are included within those requiring prosecution for Flag Desecration.

Nope that will not fly, because most VSOs make just as much War Profit off flag desecration as this Funeral Home is trying to do, except they do not use sexy models or little girls wrapped in Old Glory. That does not make VSOs any less vulnerable to charges of Flag desecration, so they just best revise their logo and patriotic sales line to take off all inappropriate images exploiting 'our' American Flag.

That frankly is the main reason I am against any Flag Amendment, because those hypocrites that push such a travesty to Freedom of Expression are guilty to the extreme of doing exactly what they want outlawed. You see I am among the vast majority of Veterans that believe Flag Desecration goes far beyond burning, or anything done to the flag in protest or distress.

Those who know me will be shocked by my semi-polite response to the Funeral Home it was really intended to be sarcastic and satire. Let it be written that, "After we came down from the ceiling, at least I (a Military Veteran of two wars) regained my calm, cool, composure. I decided that instead of getting upset with the management of Tobias Funeral Home for not knowing any better, because that will only get us nowhere, so I choose to contact you and politely ask you in a nice way to remove that ad or at least get the little girl wrapped in Old Glory off your ad pitch.

Someone at Tobias really does not have a clue about U.S. Flag Etiquette, sensitivity to seriously sharing the burden and hardship of military families, nor understands how our military family support system that includes Commissary and Base Exchange outlets really works hard to 'Support Our Troops.'

Frankly, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) and Defense Commissary Service do wonderful jobs, especially during wartime, and particularly during the Christmas Shopping Season (not my preferred view of X-Mas but the truth). In fact, we have both Commissary and BX, PX outlets in the combat zone with civilian volunteers putting their lives in harms way along with our troops. With all this unsolicited support from corporate America, why would we need to have these 'civilians' place themselves in harms way? If you really want to support our troops than volunteer to deliver your care package personally to Iraq adn Afghanistan.

To be honest with you, your intent to send care packages from your 'Funeral Home' is taken 'by my Military family' as meaning well, but unsolicited packages do not get priority in the official Military Postal system, end up in a Warehouse rotting away, or are preferable given to poor Iraqi families that need 'care packages' more than our troops do.

I do not say this to offend your good intentions, on the contrary, it is commendable, however as the family member of a Soldier having been to Iraq, I personally know that our troops prefer to give what they receive ‘from family and close friends' to poor Iraqi families. Think about it, if our troops prefer to do that with what they receive from intimate relations and love ones, what do you believe they are going to do with anything you - a stranger, and Funeral Home at that, ‘may' impossibly get through to them?

I am only being a good neighbor by informing you that some Military Families in the Beavercreek reading area may take offense to how your intent is depicted. In fact, someone at the 'ad payment' collection section of the Times paper outlet should have advised your company to change the image to reflect one of the local military families endorsing your effort, for example. Evidently whoever approved this ad for publication also has no sensitivity to military families nor took the time to consider Flag Etiquette, or they would have given you the proper advice to enhance your presentation.

If I may offer a humble suggestion, did whoever planned this appreciative gesture at Tobias Funeral Home check with the local Beavercreek American Legion or VFW to inquire about the appropriateness of having a child wrap the U.S. Flag around them for a newspaper ad from a Funeral Home, regardless what the intent or motivation was?

That is what I would have done before having that advertisement from your funeral home published in any media. In fact, you may expect to receive some concern from both those organizations, and others that have passionately pushed an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that could possible result in you being prosecuted for what you have done in that ad IF that bill had ever passed the U.S. Congress.

In closing, my intend is to inform and educate you, in a polite manner, and in a nice way about just how ‘inappropriate' asking that ad be published seriously is, and the editorial board at our local newspaper evidently lacks the intellect, retail sales, or journalistic savvy to do right by your gesture, especially if you paid to have the ad published. I would ask for your money back. The Beavercreek News-Current has done both Tobias Funeral Home and the Military Families of the area a great disservice by not professionally advising your business on ad content.

I hope and pray that this commentary is taken in the spirit intended. By all means your gesture is appreciated by our child at least even if he/she is going to give anything you send to the poor in Iraq. Frankly, that extends your gesture one step further and is more meaningful to the War effort. PLEASE quietly revise your ad. The Department of Defense via their approved, sponsored, and monitored ‘outside' Troop Support Network - America Supports You maintains a website at americasupportsyou.mil. if I got it wrong look it up!

If you have not already contacted them, which I assume you have. They are the 'official' Pentagon clearinghouse for any outside communication with our troops that does not come from immediate military family members. Please understand that this is not meant as an affront to your Funderal Home, but is intended to protect the security of our troops. America Supports You could even point you towards an appropriate ‘public domain' photo that would really enhance your ad not detract from it by desecrating the American Flag in your sales come on.

Robert L. Hanafin

Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired

Former Iraq Veterans Dad


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