NCA To Veterans: Drop Dead (Again)

The National Cemetery Administration has barred volunteers at veteran funerals from performing a popular ritual at the graveside when folding the American flag. Honor Detail members can no longer recite the significance of the folds during funerals, a time-honored tradition, because of a single complaint to the NCA (via Michelle Malkin):

Flag-folding recitations by Memorial Honor Detail volunteers are now banned at the nation’s 125 veterans graveyards because of a complaint about the ceremony at Riverside National Cemetery.
During thousands of military burials, the volunteers have folded the American flag 13 times and recited the significance of every fold to survivors.
The first fold represents life, the second a belief in eternal life, and so on.
The complaint revolved around the narration in the 11th fold, which celebrates Jewish war veterans and “glorifies the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”
The National Cemetery Administration then decided to ban the entire recital at all national cemeteries. Details of the complaint weren’t disclosed.

So let’s get this straight. Because of one complaint out of thousands of ceremonies, the NCA banned all use of the folding ceremony. Why not just ask the Honor Detail volunteers to clear it with the families first? Wouldn’t that make a little more sense — to have a written version of it approved for use at their loved one’s final acknowledgement of their service to the nation?
The men whose votes matter most have not taken this news quietly. The parliamentarian for the American Legion has instructed his detail volunteers to ignore the NCA. Two others quoted in the article wonder why one complainant has more weight than the millions of veterans who expect and deserve the ceremony at their funerals. No one has ever heard the complaint despite their many recitals of the ceremony.
The NCA has taken the cowardly route of banning the ceremony. Instead of telling the one complaining individual to get over himself, or of taking a common-sense approach of simply clearing the ceremony with the family before its recital, the NCA just washed its hands and walked away. Our veterans deserve better than that. They didn’t just wash their hands and walk away, and they didn’t stop serving when they had a hell of a lot more reason to complain than the one weepy individual who can’t bear the mention of God at a funeral.

63 thoughts on “NCA To Veterans: Drop Dead (Again)”

  1. Cap’n,
    I am a veteran, and I also agree with stopping this part of the ceremony. I served honorably and well to support the Constitution, and nowhere in that document does it say that we are Jews or Christians. That ceremony makes it abundantly clear to those who hear it that the flag represents only Jews and Christians. The rest are ignored.
    The flag MUST represent ALL citizens, of whatever religion they profess. WE cannot be inclusive while proclaiming that our national flag is made up of symbols that exclude other religions.
    The Constitution makes it abundantly clear that the Government CANNOT recognise any SPECIFIC religion. By associating parts of the flag with Judaism and Christianity, it violates that portion of the Constitution.
    I did not serve to protect any religion, nor did I serve to see any religion excluded. I served to protect the rights of ALL citizens to worship as they choose.
    I will not stand idly by and see the flag of our nation usurped for a particular religious belief.
    Respects,

  2. We might just as well stop everything and die – someone will be offended over everything. So, hey, let’s just quit.
    This is not a religious issue, this is a “chip away at American traditions” issue.
    If a soldier does not want the line read (AW1 Tim) so be it but what about the millions in the past and the thousands in the future who did and do?
    We have so convoluted the First Amendment that all of us are at risk for losing the right to say anything that someone (and I mean ONE) deems offensive. We need to grow up.

  3. This is the flip side of those rat bastard fundamentalists who go around the country to soldier’s funerals preaching their anti-gay claptrap.
    In this case, it’s the radical secularists who are using soldier funerals to ram their hateful anti-religious agenda down our throats.
    Secular extremism is still extremism, it deserves to be called what it is and denounced as unAmerican.

  4. Shipmates,
    Who said this is in anyway anti-religious? The Government is PROHIBITED from recognising any PARTICULAR religion. The government cannot promote Christianity above any other religion, for example. It a;so cannot PROHIBIT any religious expression either, and this restriction the captain sited does NOT do that. I have a copy of the letter to all cemetaries and it explains that the government CANNOT hand out these flyers about the meaning of the flag’s folds, nor allow it to be read when it’s volunteers provide the staffing for the ceremony.
    However, the document explains that if a family arranges with a local veteran’s group for the ceremony, and wishes the document to be read, then that is pefectly permissible. I agree with that part.
    I am not anti-religious. I just do NOT want our government supporting any particular religion above any others, and by saying that certain parts of our national flag represent Christian or Jewish beliefs violates the constitution, and sets us on a path we ought not to tread.
    Respects,

  5. The burial ceremony is run by private groups (such as the American Legion) not the government.
    The [burial detail] were preparing to read the flag-folding remarks at the Riverside cemetery when graveyard staff stopped them.
    The government is restricting the religious pracitces of a private group. National Cemeteries provide headstone markers for Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddists, (and now even Wiccans). If any of these or other religious groups want to let their members honor the sacrifices of America’s veterans they should be able to do so without government interference.
    The 1st amendment protects the freedom of religion, not the freedom from religion.

  6. Flag Folding Ceremony Banned Nationwide

    All it takes is one whiner:
    Through thousands of military burials, Memorial Honor Detail volunteers at Riverside National Cemetery have folded the American flag 13 times and recited the significance of every fold to survivors of those being laid to res…

  7. This reveals two thing. The first is the unwillingness of the ‘offended’ party to speak to the others that are supposedly offending them and politely asking for a change (such as clearing the reading with the family first). Instead they immediately run to Mommy govenment to fix the problem. This indicates a lack of personal courage.
    The second thing this reveals is that our gov’t employees willingly accept all complaints as equal and then solve the problem with the regulatory hammer.

  8. AW1 Tim needs a lesson in Constitutional Amendments. There is NO restriction in recognizing specific religions. The federal government most certainly does recognize specific religions every time it gives them a tax exempt status. What the First Amendment prohibits are federal laws which establish a religion. This is certainly not what is happening here.
    Some would argue, plausibly, that this specification in very clear language extends to the not-so-clear requirement of not supporting any religion at any level. I disagree. However, if you were to use that line of reasoning, you would have to extend it to the additional requirement in the First Amendment that outlaws legislation which prohibits the free exercise of religion. This attempt to ban this tradition is clearly an attempt to prohibit the free exercise of religion.
    AW1 Tim is happy to ignore that requirement of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

  9. The Constitution is prohibited from ESTABLISHING a religion. “Recognize” is not the same as “establish.” Thus any religion (or atheists, agnostics, etc.) can be recognized. If AW1’s comments were extrapolated even further, all religious symbols in national cemeteries should be removed from tombstones including Muslim star/crescent b/c someone will be offended. This is not a religious issue, it is an American military tradition that is being attacked.
    A final point is whether one person (see my previous comment) should have the right to infringe on the rights of the majority. Protection under the law, yes; infringement on others’ rights just b/c others are not as vocal or rude, no.

  10. The underlying problem is the desire for some sort of antiseptic and perfect absolute boundary in a area that is messy and undefined. Death and burial are the most spiritual events in human society. The obsession with scrubbing the smallest atomic subparticle of America’s religious history from any level of public life is unrealistic and denies America’s character.

  11. AW1 Tim, I don’t dispute the requirement of religious neutrality.
    I’m suggesting that if they’re using a soldier’s funeral as a vehicle of their protest, the agenda is not a sincere or patriotic one.
    Can I give you an analogy? If you have a valid lawsuit on a technical civil matter, you don’t serve the papers on your opponent’s wedding day. It displays an utter lack of class, and reveals that your real intentions aren’t centered on justice, but rather something ugly and spiteful inside of you.

  12. Flag-folding recitations now banned at national cemeteries

    This is outrageous to say the least and a slap in the face to all those that died to give that whiner his/her voice to protest! I ask all of you to let your voice be heard and stop this madness. I have e-mailed the story to everyone in my address boo…

  13. As an observation, a few years ago my father was buried with his Army comrades at Arlington with full honors (caisson, band, honor guard, firing party, etc.,) and a Catholic padre officiating — I do not recall this recitation as part of that ceremony.

  14. Lazarus Long and Gideon together have said all that needs to be said in this matter.
    In the end, it’s the bereaved family that matters. If they don’t want the ceremony (which is performed by private individuals), then don’t do it, and if they do, then do it.
    I can certainly see how the 11th and 12th folds could be considered a slight to Muslims and wiccans, and how nearly the entire ceremony would be a slight to atheists and liberals. Perhaps the ceremony should have options for other faiths, whose adherants will certainly come to occupy a place in the veterans’ groups.
    Again, it’s the family that matters.

  15. Shipmates,
    John Steele is correct, inthat this reading was NEVER a part of any ceremony. In fact, there are several variations of this reading in circulation. None of these readings are a part of the US Flag Code. Rather, they are an added part by some veteran’s groups.
    You fellows parsing words about the 1st Ammendment are blowing smoke. In point of fact, by permiting this reading to be done by GOVERNMENT supplied volunteers, it acts part and parcel to establish a precedent that the US Flag represents only two of the many religions in this nation. Providing a headstone with a particular religious motif is no different than having the soldier’s religious preference upon his dog tags. It is simply a statement that says “this man/woman held/holds these beliefs”. That’s not establishing a national religious preference, it is just a statement of fact regarding the soldier.
    Giving a particular religious affiliation to the flag that represents us all, however, is an entirely different kettle of fish.
    Respects to all,

  16. Who said this is in anyway anti-religious? The Government is PROHIBITED from recognising any PARTICULAR religion. The government cannot promote Christianity above any other religion, for example.
    Right, so just as soon as The Government recalls and replaces all American bills and change that have “In God we trust” printed on them, I’ll listen up.
    If and when someone files a FOI request to find out who the complainer is, I’d be willing to make a bet the initials “CAIR” and/or “ACLU” is on it. And anything that CAIR/ACLU is against, I’m pretty much guaranteed to be for.
    Always remember, too, that the Constitution is a living document and *can* be changed to reflect what a majority of Real Americans (and not recent immigrants from other failed hellholes) want it to say.

  17. I am really saddened by some of the comments. They really represent a lot of ignorance on the part of a lot of folks. Mainly things like this:
    “The Government is PROHIBITED from recognising any PARTICULAR religion.”
    That is absolutely untrue. The government is prohibited from ESTABLISHING an official government religion and they are prohibited from discriminating against people based on their religion but there is no requirement that government not recognize that religion exists or even mention God in their official documents. It just means that the government can’t create a Church of America like England had with the Church of England.
    And AW1, let me get this straight, just because YOU take offense at the ceremony means *I* can’t have it done at MY funeral? Give me a break. I say ask the family. If they want it, let them do it. If they don’t then don’t. Sounds pretty simple to me.

  18. If AW1’s comments were extrapolated even further, all religious symbols in national cemeteries should be removed from tombstones

    No, you’re confusing the speakers. The deceased and/or the family of the speaker is doing the speaking when a tombstone is selected. In the ceremony at issue, it’s the government speaking. The first implicates the Free Exercise Clause prong of the First Amendment, the second the Establishment Clause.

  19. And AW1, let me get this straight, just because YOU take offense at the ceremony means *I* can’t have it done at MY funeral?

    I think you’re getting riled up about nothing. There’s nothing to stop the family from recognizing God at their ceremony.

  20. So what does the NCA plan to do to those veterans that ignore their orders, shoot them? Arrest them? Stop the burial and throw the casket out on the street? I’d venture that the first idiotic NCA enforcer that lays a hand on a distinguished American Veteran speaking these words at a fallen comrade’s funeral is likely to be the guest of honor at the next ceremony. And whatever political hack that sends him to do so will be soon collecting unemployment. If they think the silly marches and demonstrations by Code Pink and others on the left are cool, wait until they see the nationwide riot this will cause. My fater is a WWII Vet and if he wants that read at his funeral it will damned well be read, period. And NCA be damned.

  21. Crosspatch,
    Nowhere does it say that folks CANNOT have this read at their funerals. It cannot be read by Government-sposored volunteers or Government employees. Below you will find in it’s entirety the letter circulated to all National Cemetaries regarding this reading. It should make things a tad bit clearer.
    ——————–
    Department of Veterans Affairs
    Date: September 27, 2007
    From: Director, Office of Field Programs
    Thru: Each MSN Director
    To: Each Cemetery Director
    Subj: The Meaning of Each Fold of an Honor Guard Funeral Flag
    It has come to my attention that cemeteries may be distributing a handout entitled, “The Meaning of Each Fold of an Honor Guard Funeral Flag” and/or posting the handout in cemetery buildings. I have also learned that our volunteer honor guards may be using the handout as a script and reciting the meaning of the thirteen folds of the flag while the interment flag is folded during the committal service.
    There are various versions of the script circulating by anonymous authors. Some of those scripts are religious in nature and also ascribe meaning to the individual folds put into the flag. We have recently received a complaint sent to the President of the United States that there was a gross error in the handout with reference to the 11th fold “…glorifying the Gods Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”.
    There are no federal laws related to the flag that assign any special meaning to the individual folds of the flag. The National Cemetery Administration must not give meaning, or appear to give meaning to the folds of the flag by endorsing or distributing any handouts on “The Meaning of Each Fold of an Honor Guard Funeral Flag.”
    Effective immediately all national cemeteries are to refrain from distributing any handouts on “The Meaning of Each Fold of an Honor Guard Funeral Flag”; remove any postings from all cemetery buildings and discontinue our VA-Sponsored Volunteer Honor Guards from using the handout as a script at a committal service during the folding of the flag.
    The only time the reading of “The Meaning of Each Fold of an Honor Guard Funeral Flag” is authorized in our national cemeteries is when the next-of-kin arranges for military honors with their local VSO and requests the reading during the committal service.
    /s/
    STEVE L. MURO
    ————————–
    Respects,

  22. The only time the reading of “The Meaning of Each Fold of an Honor Guard Funeral Flag” is authorized in our national cemeteries is when the next-of-kin arranges for military honors with their local VSO and requests the reading during the committal service.

    There ya have it. Controversy over. Well, it should be over, but I suspect Malkin will continue to beat this particular dead horse for as long as she can.

  23. Shipmates,
    Included below is a copy of the response from the VA to the original letter of complaint which set this whole ball of wax rolling. I have redacted the complainant’s name and address, but otherwise, it is complete as sent.
    ———————————-
    DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAiRS
    UNDER SECRETARY FOR MEMORIAL AFFAIRS
    WASHINGTON DC 20420
    Mr.XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    Dear Mr.XXXXXXXXXX:
    OCT 5 2001
    I am replying to your letter to President George W. Bush regarding your concerns about the handout you received at Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery, which explains the meaning of each fold of an honor guard funeral flag. President George Bush cares about the concerns of those who write to him; however, he cannot respond to every inquiry that he receives. I am responding because I oversee the development and operation of our Nation’s 125 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries.
    Please accept my condolences on the loss of your father. I appreciate you calling our attention to the error in “The Meaning of Each Fold of an Honor Guard Funeral Flag” handout you received at Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery at your father’s committal service. It is not a VA document. A copy of the document was provided to Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery and they decided to include a copy in the interment folder that is provided to the next of kin.
    Through research, we learned that there are various versions of this document circulating, and we regret that we have no knowledge of who authored the version that you received. We have instructed all of our national cemeteries to discontinue the distribution of this document and any other versions of it.
    I hope that this information is helpful to you. Again, thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.
    Sincerely,
    William F. Tuerk
    ————————————

  24. The federal government most certainly does recognize specific religions every time it gives them a tax exempt status.

    You’re not thinking very clearly here. The ceremony at bar recognizes a particular religion (Christianity) to the exclusion of all other faiths. To correct the defect in your analogy: would a law that only granted tax exempt status to Christian non-profits be unconstitutional?
    None but the crazy would hesitate to say such a law is unconstitutional.
    At any rate, a little googling came across this fascinating page, a collection of letters from an early 19th century debate over whether the post office should be closed on the Sunday. Notably, the debate is much like contemporary debates: the proponents of the closed day say there’s nothing about closing for Sunday that implicates a particular religion, while the opponents argue that closing the post offices on Sunday is an unconstitutional singling out of a particular religion.

  25. “The Government is PROHIBITED from recognising any PARTICULAR religion.” That would have been the old government of the USSR. There is nothing legitimate that prohibits the US government from doing so.

  26. The problem with the USSR, Kosloff, was that the USSR did recognize a particular faith (atheism), rather than remaining neutral on the subject as our First Amendment requires.

  27. “he problem with the USSR, Kosloff, was that the USSR did recognize a particular faith (atheism), rather than remaining neutral on the subject as our First Amendment requires.”,/i>
    That’s not true. Atheism was not the “faith” the government of the USSR recognized, it was the concept of Marxism. Marxism included the elimination of all religious beliefs and practices as to remove any competing ideology from the populace. To achieve this, the Soviet government banned ALL forms of religious expression and attempted to stop all religious observances. Anyone caught practicing religious expression or attempting to extend that expression to others through a church service or prayer session were arrested and detained, which usually resulted in the death of the detainee. Although the complete eradication of religion was not accomplished, the soviet government tolerated no “faith” but that of the Marxist ideology itself.

  28. Also, the Constitution will only allow state governments that are Republican in nature to enter the Union. By your argument, that official “faith” in a Republican form of government is recognized and enforced by the very document you claim is neutral on this subject.

  29. One last note, the Constitution also that the government shall not prohibit “the free expression thereof, of a religious belief or faith. Since Congress is prevented from establishing laws that regulate and control the free expression of religion, the VA , a federal office created by an Act of Congress and, the National Cemetery Administration which it regulates, must follow all Constitutional restrictions and can not stop anyone from using religious expression or statements in any public or private ceremony like a funeral. Like it or not, religious expression is allowed in funeral statements, literature, and observances.

  30. AW1 Tim
    Please note that my comment about this “ceremony” being missing at Arlington (and is NOT an endorsement of banning it at national cemeteries. I firmly believe that the words spoken over the dead are the jurisdiction of the family, not the NCA or any government authority. I beleive that the words of the Constitution prevent the national government from establishing or promoting a national religion or making religion a test for any office, benefits, rights or privilege. I do NOT beleive the Constitution intends to remove religion from American life, including actions of the government, merely that the government may not condition its actions on religion.

  31. Okay. For what it’s worth. Here’s my 2-cents.
    There’s a mood in this country, now full of fatigue.
    I’m tellin ya, Bush did not make the sale!
    And, it’s like when WW1 ended. And, it took a decade for All Quiet On The Western Front to roll out.
    All Quiet on the Western Front was the first inkling, to “folks back home” … that WW1 was CARNAGE.
    See? News traveled slow, back in the 1915-18 range. And, the patriotism, in America, ran high.
    Heck, we had Irving Berlin writing: OVER THERE!
    We had Yankee Doodle Dandy. (I think. My dates for history tend to be “off.” And, you’re lucky if I can recognize you humming “happy birthday.”)
    But my point is that you can get Americans worked up with ardor. Until the truth comes marching home.
    We haven’t seen the truth, yet, on Irak. Because we’re still there. Though I’m pretty sure; Bush has not made the sale!
    That the US Military is trying to run a PR machine? Of this I have no doubt.
    Doesn’t mean propaganda survives sunshine.
    And, it doesn’t mean that the republicans haven’t got something to lose. Bush hasn’t made the sale!
    Your “top salesman” is stuck. By the urinal that is the EDSEL’s front grill.
    Payback? Oh, that can be a bitch.
    Ya know. For my own enjoyment, I’m listening (on tape), to Ulysses S. Grant’s biography. Oh, my goodness. Was he trampled on by hacks. And, incompetents. Of course, it put pressure on Lincoln! It put pressure on this whole country!
    But what’s amazing me, now. That the details of each battle surface; is how there were STINK-O generals in charge. And, even Grant’s plans were not obeyed.
    In one case? (U-kypa. U-crapa. There was this area where the Confederates had re-captured. And, it was a town with a railroad … with two roads, leading out. Shaped like a “V”. Rosencranz was told to divide his troops. So both exits were covered. Ain’t what he did!
    Also, Ord’s troops were waiting for the sounds of battle, before they joined. Grant was there.
    Only thing is; there’s the mystery of sound. And, Rosenkranz’ guns … went “the other way.” And, were not heard by Ord, or Grant. Can you spell: Battle plans going arwy?
    Did you know that for most people battles are total chaos. They don’t know what’s going on. (It was Grant’s skill to see beyond the powder. Those situations weren’t chaotic to him.) Which is what makes a general GREAT.
    And, America got lucky. After trying everything else, Lincoln finally turned to the ONE WINNAH.
    By the way, Americcans completely missed Grant’s genius. The Brits, going over the battle scenes, pieced it together. The newspapermen? Were lying. Reporting garbage. Suppporting hacks.
    FULLER, in England, demonstrated Grant’s genius.
    So, yes. It takes years for the truth to penetrate.
    While Bush? Now that he’s “invited” Jimmy Carter to “halp” him with his Annapolis “plans,” is actually fighting for last place!
    Imagine having to try to end up in last place? Not just by free-fall.
    And, you don’t think there’s a story out there, in the wings, waiting to be told?
    How many Americans do you think give a rat’s patooti for arabs?

  32. “There ya have it. Controversy over.”
    The controversy is not over. It has just begun.
    “Effective immediately all national cemeteries are to refrain from distributing any handouts on “The Meaning of Each Fold of an Honor Guard Funeral Flag”; remove any postings from all cemetery buildings and discontinue our VA-Sponsored Volunteer Honor Guards from using the handout as a script at a committal service during the folding of the flag.”
    This statement just ordered the National Cemeteries to prevent private individuals or groups from freely expressing religious references, or any other references, related to the Folding of the Flag in a funeral ceremony. This makes it unconstitutional as it interferes with the free expression clause of the Constitution and I have no doubt that the NCA will not be able to enforce this directive. I look forward to the upcoming Supreme court ruling on this outrageous ban of free expression.

  33. This statement just ordered the National Cemeteries to prevent private individuals or groups from freely expressing religious references, or any other references, related to the Folding of the Flag in a funeral ceremony.

    Not so:

    The only time the reading of “The Meaning of Each Fold of an Honor Guard Funeral Flag” is authorized in our national cemeteries is when the next-of-kin arranges for military honors with their local VSO and requests the reading during the committal service.

    ie, it can be requested.

  34. Below is a link to the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. This official site shows the proper folding of the flag and also recites the meaning of all of the folds of the flag. The eleventh fold wording seems to be no different from what the complainant was crying about, and is at odds with the letter aw1 has posted whereby the VA overseer says that the meaning or wording was in error. Either this guy at the VA doesn’t have a clue as to what he is talking about, or we have a nice scam going on here that is duping us all.
    http://www.floridavets.org/information/flag2.asp

  35. Since the complainant was upset with the 11th and not the 12th fold, it is my humble opinion that the complainant was a Muslim. It would be nice to know, though, wouldn’t it?

  36. jpe,
    After the issue is over in your eyes, why do you keep posting? Could it be that the issue really isn’t over for you or your opponents (including me)?
    Those volunteers are not “government volunteers”. They represent the VFW or the American Legion or some other veterans’ association, not the United States Government.
    The Government provides the stone and/or the burial place (depending on circumstances), and service representatives if requested. The Government does not provide a priest, minister, rabbi, or other religious representative, and aside from military honors, does not provide any other part of the ceremony.
    Those volunteers do that.
    Now the Government comes and tells the volunteers that the ceremony the volunteers perform is a Government ceremony and cannot be religious in nature. Bull! If the Government allows the officiation of a religious representative during any part of the ceremony, it has no right to silence the veterans there to honor their comrade.
    I say that if the Government really wishes to put restrictions on private religious speech at a military funeral, that they can pay for the decedant’s service to provide the proper Government sanctioned words of consolation and permit no others.
    The interesting thing about this whole affair is that there appear to be at least a dozen flag folding ceremonies out there on the net. if you google the words (not the phrase) flag folding ceremony, you get the sense.
    Not all of the ceremonies mention God, and, in fact, the Air Force Academy appears recently to have changed its flag folding ceremony to remove the troublesome clauses which represent only the “Hebrew” and “Christian” citizenry. I can see the Government doing that — for recognizing two faiths as superior to all others is a violation of the Establishment clause.
    But to prevent private citizens from speaking (or performing) what they believe is a proper ceremony is beyond what I think is a correct position by the Government.
    Again, it’s what the family wants which should be respected by all parties.

  37. Anti-religious bigotry is alive and well.
    No wonder leftists spit at our troops, when even the government dehumanizes them & strips them of their transcendent nature at the moment of death.
    You secularists ought to be a might proud, I guess, at your accomplishment here.

  38. “Not all of the ceremonies mention God, and, in fact, the Air Force Academy appears recently to have changed its flag folding ceremony to remove the troublesome clauses which represent only the “Hebrew” and “Christian” citizenry. I can see the Government doing that — for recognizing two faiths as superior to all others is a violation of the Establishment clause.”
    The fact that fold 11 and 12 refer to “in the eyes of a hebrew…” and “in the eyes of a christian..” does not establish these two faiths as superior to all others. Since there are hundreds of faiths, it would not be practical to refer to all of them.

  39. Actually, the Veteran’s group hasn’t lost.
    It’s got to deal with a bureacratic ruling.
    Isn’t this one of those things that Nixon referred to “as a flagpole?” When he’d say “shoot it up the flagpole, boys, and see if anyone salutes it.”
    How much anger would it take for this issue be be blown away?
    The ball’s in play.
    I don’t think the “one complainant” wins anything down the line. I’d bet you can’t interfere with what families want when they bury their loved ones.
    And, I say this while the other case is now in court. Where the father of a slain marine is suing that idiot, Phelps.
    One of the triumphs of our US Constitution, is that when the needs arise; we have court houses.
    It’s not static.
    As Thomas Jefferson said: We get to have liberty, by watering the tree of Justice with blood, in every generation.
    Fair play will show up soon, enough.

  40. Shipmates,
    As I tried to point out before, the point here is that the United States Flag cannot be used to advance one religion over another, and it most certainly may not have religious beliefs attached to a portion of it’s symbolism.
    It is our national flag, and as such, represents everyone, not just a few.
    The goverment provides chaplains and headstones with specific religious symbols to those who wish to have them. They provide for religious service(s) for all our troops, and even allow for a lione on their dog tags to procalim a specific religious affiliation. None of that is akin to a government-sponsired religion. It is simply recognising the religious views of it’s members and providing such support as is lawful.
    However, the government cannot ascribe a particular religion or religious point to a ceremony involving our national flag. We are a nation of many religions, and to say that, when folding our flag, this particular fold represents this belief, and that fold represents another belief is to add a religious conotation or meaning where it has no place.
    There is no problem in saying we place our trust in God, nor in saying we are a nation “under God”. It becomes a problem, however, when we start to say America follows a specific God.
    I am a deeply religious man, I am a life member of the Disabled American Veterans. I cannot, however, support ascribing specific religious relevance to our national flag. It is either a flag for all of us, or for none of us.
    Respects,

  41. this is another one of those weekend goat f&*ks.
    what the hell gang is the next thing changing the wording on the coins and currency to:
    IN GOD WE TRUST, ALL OTHERS PAY CASH???
    how about the business of removing the word GOD from the pledge of allegiance. that one lasted about 4 days before the politicians managed to rein it in. even though it did wind up in a bunch of courts.
    what you do is everybody call up or email or write to their elected congress and senate critters and scream bloody murder about it.
    this is the kind of thing that the guy who told the people not to do it will get a blast from his boss on the order of:
    “^&#$# ^&%$@# don’t you know that 85% of the country is christian and you want to delete a more or less christian ceremony from the military burial traditon because ONE!!!!! person complained.” “we could all get canned for crap like this!!!”
    thats the way you handle it.
    C

  42. AW1Tim, I have no doubt that you are a very religious man, but is it safe to assume from your post that the religion you subscribe to is NOT Christianity? From the perspective you offer, even the island natives that fed people to King Kong in the movie were “deeply religious”

  43. Eventually, we will have to decide whether or not Islam is inimical to the survival of Western Civilization, and Humanity in general.
    Personally, I think it is evil, and must be eliminated.
    It is – ultimately – either us or them.
    I vote for us.

  44. I guess I’m confused; or SOMEBODY is.
    “The complaint revolved around the narration in the 11th fold, which celebrates Jewish war veterans and “glorifies the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.””
    Does not both Christianity AND Islam trace their beliefs to “the God of Abraham”? So one might presume that the complainer is complaining about religion in general, rather than Judaism in particular?

  45. Dear Ron,
    Sorry my butt isn’t glued to the computer chair. I actually have to work and can’t log on as quickly as you might like.
    I can certainly post the man’s name and even his address, as it’s on the copy of the letter I received. However, I chose to redact it in my post as I don’t have permission to post it. I did, however, email a copy (in full) of both letters to the good Captain. If he chooses to, he can post it.
    I can guarentee you it is not a Muslim name, but a good anglo-saxon name from Texas. What the man’s religion is, I do not know, but that isn’t germane to the situation.
    Respects,

  46. Woe, to us. The bureacracy is such a mess.
    Some imbicile gets the power to pull a switch; where people providing government funerals … are subject to rules that outlaw what families want?
    What happens if there’s enough altitude to this situation, and “congress holds hearings?”
    Or some such development occurs.
    Ya know, I’m old, now.
    But I remember how LBJ got frightened out of his skull; when a lot of ordinary citizens went to Washington. By the bus load.
    We just haven’t seen demostrations in recent years; that punctures through the bureacracy and teaches some of those who are glued to their chairs, a lesson. Or two.
    By the way, if Bush had an ability to give a speech … this one would be a natural.
    “HOW DARE YOU” … would work as fine for a republican, as it just did, in another context, for Bill Clinton.
    And, you can’t see the drag on the republicans, now? Bush can’t close!
    If he were a salesman, you’d say he’s hiding out in the bathroom. Afraid to engage any customers.
    Ya know, AW1 Tim, it didn’t even dawn on me that this letter could have even written by a Muslim.
    That it could have been written by someone who understands the buracracy in DC? You bet. Someone who knows that ineptness is a key to getting work, when you’re working for our government.
    But ya know what? IF you wanted to see this turned around, Bush should’a done it!
    You think President Guiliani would just sit, hidebound?
    Let’s hope there’s some “fixin” that happens next. Just bleeding to death, shouldn’t be an option.

  47. Ken Mitchell,
    The problem is with Isaac. The Muslims trace their heritage from Ishmael, whom they argue to have been the real chosen son. And the word “Hebrew” might stick in their craw a little too.
    The cemetary administration was right to have prevented the use of this ceremony as provided by the Government, but is not right to prevent its use by private individuals reading from a script not provided by the Government.
    AW1 Tim,
    It is not the Flag that is described in the ceremony, it’s the folding of the Flag. The ceremony purports to assign meaning to each fold of the Flag, and a final meaning to the resulting triangularly shaped object (which really ought to be a blue triangle if the folding is correct).
    The meanings attached to the folding do not detract from the meaning of the Flag.
    I note that the letter you posted does not prevent the veterans from using any script of their own choosing — just not a privately authored script provided by the Government which incidentally violates the Establishment clause. It also does not prevent the veterans from giving a copy of their script to the next-of-kin.
    Again, it’s the will of the bereaved family which should be followed. We have ample numbers of veterans right here who want that ceremony as it is. They should have it. Since you do not, you should not. [But, again, your family may feel differently, and regardless of your belief in God or lack thereof, you won’t be in any position to dictate what happens at your funeral anyway, so you’d best make sure your family knows in advance.]

  48. Ken Mitchell,
    As the letter above points out, the family may request the inclusion of this reading in the services, and provide someone to do it. What the Director’s letter is pointing out is that an honor detail provided by the VA cannot include this particular reading.
    No one is saying that it can’t be read in a Federal cemtary, or during a veteran’s funeral. It just cannot be done by government-provided staff and/or volunteers.
    All the family has to do is coordinate with their local Veteran’s Service Organisation to have someone do the reading.
    Yes, Shipmate, I realise it’s about folding the flag, but that’s kissing cousins to the flag itself, and a dangerous preceden for the government to set.
    People are free to do with the flag as they like. Some folks burn it, others make clothing of it. I also find those acts reprehensible, but at present the law allows for it. Those, however, are individuals, not the Federal Government doing those acts.
    Respects,

  49. Carol Herman says, “Heck, we had Irving Berlin writing: OVER THERE!”
    Uhhh, that would be a big surprise to George M Cohan.
    If you can’t get simple facts right (there is this thing called the Internet), why should I take any of your opinions seriously.

  50. “Yes, Shipmate, I realise it’s about folding the flag, but that’s kissing cousins to the flag itself, and a dangerous preceden for the government to set.”
    The government is NOT setting precedent for the inclusion of religious statements and references in public setting by allowing the folding ceremony, the CONSTITUTION has already set that precedent in the first amendment. The government IS setting a precedent when it does not allow religious words and statements to be posted and distributed in a National cemetery as the directive states.
    The biggest danger is having the government restricting the use ceremonies to only that includes speech that the government approves. The directive is forcing national cemeteries to ban the posting and distribution of literature which includes religious statements and references, and has baned speech in ceremonies that include religious statements and references if any member of the performers are affiliated with the VA. That is unconstitutional. The government is not allowed to restrict the free expression of anyone, no matter what their affiliation. The ability to perform rituals and ceremonies which include religiously reference and statements is what freedom of expression is all about. This directive is wrong, and it should , and most likely will, be ignored.

  51. AW1Tim-
    After two previous attempts for an answer from you, it is obvious that you cannot tell us where the error exists in the handout that the VA overseer refers to in his letter that you posted. As I posted earlier, the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs has an official flag folding and fold meaning on their official site, one which seems to be no different from what the Captain has excerpted above, especially as it regards the eleventh fold. Again, what is the “error” that this VA official is talking about?
    One last thing. Is this letter available on a government web site for all to see, including the name of the complainant, and, if so, would you be kind enough to link to it? It not, could you explain to the rest of us how you happened to be in receipt of a copy of this private letter?

  52. Flag-folding Recitations by Memorial Honor Details are Banned in Veteran Cemeteries

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard the accusation that the right is restricting the rights of the people, that the right is taking away free speech and freedom of expression. Etc Etc Etc. We all know the drill. Its the mantra…

Leave a Reply