As America commemorated the sacred fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy this past Sunday, expressions of respect for our flag were profoundly inspirational.
America’s flag is the sacrosanct symbol of our beloved nation, and always deserves the greatest honor, respect, and reverence.
Respect for our flag was immortalized by the iconic flag-raising by U.S. Marines during the battle of Iwo Jima, and again at Ground Zero by New York City firefighters.
America’s Flag: Our Rallying Point
The American flag is, and will forever be, the rallying point for our dedication, devotion, and duty to country.
Each of us must do everything according to our vocation in life to respect what our flag represents.
These are challenging times throughout the nation, especially with police-community relations, political polarization, escalating violence, and a crisis of leadership.
But we have always had challenging times, as with the war to earn our independence, world wars, and the civil rights movement of the 1960’s.
Throughout our history, and in the aftermath of 9/11, America’s flag must always be raised high, as at Iwo Jima. Our flag is our rallying point of hope, unity, and patriotism.
America’s Flag: Our Current Scandal
Currently, there is an intensifying scandal involving our flag on America’s athletic fields. This contempt for our sacred symbol during the National Anthem deserves condemnation without reserve.
This scandal began with one National Football League (NFL) player and has senselessly escalated to numerous players, teams, and even a high school football team in Camden, New Jersey.
Over the past few years, there have been numerous sports scandals including extensive arrests of NFL players for crimes including aggravated assault, unlawful possession of weapons, disorderly conduct, drunken driving, resisting arrest, drug possession, and domestic violence.
Aside from the NFL, there have also been other sports scandals including Major League Baseball’s steroid abuse, and disgraceful behavior by an Olympic swimmer at the recent games in Brazil.
As shameful as these acts are, any purposeful disrespect for America’s flag, which has draped coffins of countless armed forces heroes throughout our history, is also contemptuous.
One can only wonder if any of those involved with this reprehensible dishonoring of our sacred symbol would have had the courage to endure the sacrifices made at Iwo Jima.
Furthermore, would any of them have the courage to serve America on the shores of Normandy, in the jungles of Vietnam, or in the blistering heat of Afghanistan or Iraq.
One can only surmise where the lack of wisdom, family guidance, understanding, fortitude, reverence, or character education was so lost as to result in such contempt for our flag.
Perhaps a deficiency took place somewhere during formative years in the family, community, or school, or was planted by a manipulative media.
More tragically, this outrageous contempt for America’s flag is receiving no condemnation from NFL leadership. Yet, this should come as no surprise, as this is the same leadership that tried to cover-up an outrageous crime of domestic violence.
The current NFL leadership only responded to this barbaric domestic incident after their ineptitude, superficiality, and complicity was brought to light by an elevator video.
The NFL needs to send a clear message, not only to current players, but also to all aspiring athletes at colleges and high schools throughout America.
The message must be clear, strong, and immediate, that the NFL will not ever tolerate criminal behavior by its athletes, nor will it accept dishonoring the flag as an acceptable expression of player rights.
Players, who are privileged to play the game, and reap extraordinary financial rewards, must be held to the highest standards of professional ethics, and reflect responsibility to our nation.
Respect for America through our flag is a sacred privilege, responsibility, and duty.
This respect is solemnly proclaimed in our Star Spangled Banner, Pledge of Allegiance, prayers for our beloved nation, and honoring our flag.
The next time anyone in the NFL, or anywhere considers dishonoring our flag, let them be mindful that this same flag is draped over countless coffins of armed forces and law enforcement heroes.
It is the same flag over the coffins of all who have offered the ultimate sacrifice serving our nation on foreign soil and here at home, and this flag deserves eternal honor without compromise.
May honor for America’s flag forever live in the hearts of all who are truly sons and daughters of our nation.
Let the words of Nathan Hale (June 6, 1755—Sept. 22, 1776), a true patriot, who served to gain America’s freedom and offered the ultimate sacrifice, forever be engraved in our souls:
“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
Vincent J. Bove, CPP, is a national speaker and author on issues critical to America. Bove is a recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for combating crime and violence and is a former confidant of the New York Yankees. His newest book is “Listen To Their Cries.” For more information, see www.vincentbove.com
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.