To the Editor:

As we approach the celebration of our independence from Great Britain I have noticed a number of American flags with a blue or red stripe replacing a white one. One EMT is flying a flag with a combination red and blue stripe. I assume the display is meant to show support for law enforcement and fire department personnel.

Displaying support for first responders is fine but changing the colors or design of the flag us a violation of U.S. Code Section 700 which states, “The flag of the United States shall be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; and the union of the flag shall be fifty stars, white in a blue field.” Violation is subject to a year in jail. 

The restrictions on defacing or degrading the Stars and Stripes were implemented by progressive President Woodrow Wilson. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that burning the flag is an act protected by the First Amendment.

If you are going to fly the American flag with one of the stripes blue or red or both, please also fly the “true” flag above or with it on the right side facing a viewer.

Richard J. August 

North Kingstown

The writer is the Gold Star father of Army CPT Matthew August and Vietnam-era veteran.

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