Today is the 74th anniversary of the Normandy invasion.
On June 6, 1944 the Allied Forces landed on the beaches of Normandy. Thousands died. None of them died for the flag. They died fighting totalitarianism. They died fighting Hitler. Eventually the Allied Forces overcame the Nazis and won the war.
My uncle died in that war. On his fourth mission bombing Germany. He was the only son of an immigrant. He was shot down on the way back to base after a bombing mission over Berlin. He died fighting against totalitarianism. He did not die for the flag.
Korea. Vietnam. Iraq. Afghanistan. Wars fought for various reasons. Some legitimate, some not. Thousands of Americans died. Some died because they believed were protecting America. Some died because they were drafted and had no choice. Not a single one died for the flag.
When the Heel Spur Patriot tries to equate patriotism with the flag he is confusing symbols with reality.
Yes, the flag CAN represent the ideals of the USA. It CAN represent freedom, honor, fairness, justice and all those other positive values we try to aspire to.
It can also represent slavery, discrimination, lynching, voter suppression , police brutality and a number of other values we SHOULD reject.
It is in the eye of the beholder.
“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” wrote Samuel Johnson in 1775.
Today we have a scoundrel in the White House. A scoundrel who clothes himself in the flag of a country that he would never defend himself. A Heel Spur Patriot.
So, no matter how many times the Heel Spur Patriot tries to sing the National Anthem or God Bless America. No matter how often he respectfully places his hand over his heart and nods solemnly while the anthem plays. No matter how he tries to equate REAL military service with jingoistic flag waving.
The fact remains. Many Americans have died in wars. Many died to fight totalitarianism. Many died to protect the right to protest. To exercise your First Amendment rights. To preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
But no one ever died for the flag.