Columbus Day/518e: Une révérence presque mystique (We’re kinda proud of that ragged old flag)

Cherchez l'erreur (Obama, Iowa, Sep 2007)
Obama
Le fait, au cours d’une manifestation organisée ou réglementée par les autorités publiques, d’outrager publiquement l’hymne national ou le drapeau tricolore est puni de 7 500 euros d’amende. Lorsqu’il est commis en réunion, cet outrage est puni de six mois d’emprisonnement et de 7 500 euros d’amende. Code pénal francais (Article 433-5-1, Loi n°2003-239 du 18 mars 2003)
During a rendition of the national anthem, when the flag is displayed all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. US flag code
Je jure allégeance au drapeau des États-Unis d’Amérique et à la République qu’il représente, une nation unie sous l’autorité de Dieu, indivisible, avec la liberté et la justice pour tous. Serment du drapeau (Francis Bellamy, revise en 1954 par Eisenhower)
Without this phrase ‘under God,’ The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag might have been recited with similar sincerity by Muscovite children at the beginning of their school day. Rev. George Macpherson Docherty (New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, Washington DC, Feb. 1954)
I was brought up in Scotland, and in Scotland, we sang, ‘God save our gracious king. George Macpherson Docherty
From this day forward, the millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty — a patriotic oath and a public prayer. Eisenhower (1954)
To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds. Justice Robert H. Jackson (West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, the United States Supreme Court, 1943)
The American flag, then, throughout more than 200 years of our history, has come to be the visible symbol embodying our Nation. It does not represent the views of any particular political party, and it does not represent any particular political philosophy. The flag is not simply another ‘idea’ or ‘point of view’ competing for recognition in the marketplace of ideas. Millions and millions of Americans regard it with an almost mystical reverence regardless of what sort of social, political, or philosophical beliefs they may have. I cannot agree that the First Amendment invalidates the Act of Congress, and the laws of 48 of the 50 States, which make criminal the public burning of the flag. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist (1989)
We do not consecrate the flag by punishing its desecration, for in doing so we dilute the freedom that this cherished emblem represents. Justice William J. Brennan
The truth is that right after 9/11 I had a pin. Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security. I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest. Instead, I’m going to try to tel l the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testament to my patriotism. Obama (October 04, 2007)
As I’ve said about the flag pin, I don’t want to be perceived as taking sides. There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression. And the anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all. It should be swapped for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.’ If that were our anthem, then I might salute it. Reponse parodique attribuee au sénateur Obama

Dis moi comment tu traites ton drapeau, je te dirai qui tu es!

Eclairage nocturne obligatoire, exposition interdite en cas de pluie ou vent violents, positionnement nécessairement près du coeur pour tout port en épinglette ou en badge, nettoyage hebdomadaire obligatoire, interdiction de l’exposer abimé, corbeilles publiques et incinérateurs spécifiques pour la destruction des drapeaux usagés, interdiction de le poser sur le sol, lui marcher dessus ou de le tremper dans un liquide quelconque, interdiction formelle de l’incliner devant quelque autorité que ce soit, prééminence obligatoire sur un mât comportant de multiples drapeaux, protocole spécifique de pliage, affichage ou sens de déploiement, fete annuelle specifique (Flag day, le 14 juin), multiplication des poemes et chansons en son honneur …

En ce 518e anniversaire de l’arrivée de Christophe Colomb au Nouveau Monde …

Qui, aux portes de ce qu’il croyait etre l’empire chinois, le vit échanger, on le sait avec les indigènes, la catastrophique rougeole contre la non moins redoutable maladie vénerienne de la syphilis  …

Et qui, fêté aux Etats-Unis le 2e lundi d’octobre, voit nos amis hispanophones célebrer leur Race (pardon:  « hispanité« ) …

Pendant qu’au Pays autoproclamé des droits de l’homme, contraint néanmoins lui aussi il y a 7 ans de bricoler en catastrophe son propre code patriotique, nos chères têtes blondes sifflent copieusement l’hymne au sang impur ou arrachent son drapeau du fronton de nos mairies quand on ne prime pas les courageux anticonformistes qui se torchent avec …

Retour, histoire de comprendre les mémorables empoignades (mais jamais, 1er amendement oblige, jusqu’a l’interdiction) qu’avaient déclenché lors de la guerre du Vietnam son autodafé public ou plus récemment la tentative de certaines écoles d’en supprimer ou, au lendemain des attentats du 11/9, rétablir l’obligation du serment d’allegeance

Comme le quasi-scandale national qu’a pu provoquer au cours de la dernière présidentielle, le refus du futur premier président américain du Tiers-monde non seulement de manifester le respect élémentaire du a son hymne national mais de porter en temps de guerre les couleurs de son pays en boutonnière  …

Sur la véritable religion civile qu’est devenue, dans la première nation proprement mondialisée de l’histoire moderne, la bannière rouge blanche et bleue qui inspira à la Patrie autoproclamée des droits de l’homme son propre tricolore.

Et notamment, au-dela de son rituel le plus visible et le plus connu  du serment d’allegeance lancé il y a un peu plus d’un siècle par un pasteur socialiste dans un magazine de jeunes en l’honneur justement du 400e anniversaire de l’arrivée de Colomb …

Les règles particulièrement méticuleuses du code du drapeau

Le code du drapeau américain

25 août 2010

L’une des premières choses qui frappe lorsque l’on arrive aux USA est l’omniprésence du drapeau US : Sur les autobus, les métros, devant tous les édifices, la plupart des maisons et bien entendu les entreprises qui veulent attirer la clientèle patriotique en affichant des drapeaux en masse (parfois de très très grande taille !).

J’ai donc voulu en savoir plus et ai questionné plusieurs collègues qui m’ont appris l’existence d’un « code du drapeau Américain » dont je vais vous parler aujourd’hui.

Ce code du drapeau définit des règles très strictes et assez incroyables. Jugez plutôt :

* Le drapeau Américain, affiché en extérieur, doit être descendu et retiré chaque nuit sauf si il est éclairé par un projecteur. On ne peut pas laisser les USA dans l’ombre !

* De même, le drapeau ne doit pas être exposé à la pluie et aux vents violents.

* Le drapeau ne peut être porté en pin’s ou en badge que si ce dernier est positionné près du coeur du porteur.

* Le drapeau Américain doit être considéré comme un être vivant. Il est irrespectueux et illégal de le jeter à la poubelle. Des corbeilles spécifiques sont prévues à cet effet en divers lieux publics. Les drapeaux usagés sont ensuite incinérés selon un protocole précis.

* Il est interdit de poser le drapeau Américain sur le sol ou de lui marcher dessus. De même, il est interdit de le tremper dans un liquide quelconque.

* Lorsqu’il est sur un mât comportant de multiples drapeaux, le drapeau des USA doit être celui placé tout en haut. Il est illégal de placer le drapeau Américain en dessous d’un autre drapeau !

* Le drapeau ne peut être affiché abîmé. Il doit être immédiatement remplacé si il devient usagé.

Il existe également un protocole spécifique pour plier le drapeau, l’afficher correctement, le déployer dans la bonne direction, etc. ainsi que de nombreuses autres règles et… chansons à la gloire du drapeau. A ce point, c’est en fait pratiquement un culte !

D’ailleurs, tous les matins, les élèves des écoles Américaines doivent réciter le « pledge of allegiance » en classe, jusqu’au niveau lycée selon le souvenir de mes collègues :

« Je jure allégeance au drapeau des États-Unis d’Amérique et à la République qu’il représente, une nation unie sous l’autorité de Dieu, indivisible, avec la liberté et la justice pour tous. »

Notez au passage que les USA ne reportent qu’à l’autorité de Dieu et de personne d’autre. « One nation under God » et dont le drapeau doit être au dessus de tous les autres. Entre Dieu et le reste du monde. Ni plus ni moins. Ça c’est du patriotisme !

Pour finir, une petite question à laquelle je vais vous demander de répondre dans les commentaires. Lorsque le drapeau Américain est mis en berne (décès d’un membre important du gouvernement, commémoration militaire, etc.), tous les drapeaux US doivent suivre le même protocole à l’exception d’un seul, lequel ???

Voir aussi:

I am the Flag

Ruth Apperson Rous

I am the flag of the United States of America.

I was born on June 14, 1777, in Philadelphia.

There the Continental Congress adopted my stars and stripes as the national flag.

My thirteen stripes alternating red and white, with a union of thirteen white stars in a field of blue, represented a new constellation, a new nation dedicated to the personal and religious liberty of mankind.

Today fifty stars signal from my union, one for each of the fifty sovereign states in the greatest constitutional republic the world has ever known.

My colors symbolize the patriotic ideals and spiritual qualities of the citizens of my country.

My red stripes proclaim the fearless courage and integrity of American men and boys and the self-sacrifice and devotion of American mothers and daughters.

My white stripes stand for liberty and equality for all.

My blue is the blue of heaven, loyalty, and faith.

I represent these eternal principles: liberty, justice, and humanity.

I embody American freedom: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the sanctity of the home.

I typify that indomitable spirit of determination brought to my land by Christopher Columbus and by all my forefathers – the Pilgrims, Puritans, settlers at James town and Plymouth.

I am as old as my nation.

I am a living symbol of my nation’s law: the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.

I voice Abraham Lincoln’s philosophy: « A government of the people, by the people,for the people. »

I stand guard over my nation’s schools, the seedbed of good citizenship and true patriotism.

I am displayed in every schoolroom throughout my nation; every schoolyard has a flag pole for my display.

Daily thousands upon thousands of boys and girls pledge their allegiance to me and my country.

I have my own law—Public Law 829, « The Flag Code » – which definitely states my correct use and display for all occasions and situations.

I have my special day, Flag Day. June 14 is set aside to honor my birth.

Americans, I am the sacred emblem of your country. I symbolize your birthright, your heritage of liberty purchased with blood and sorrow.

I am your title deed of freedom, which is yours to enjoy and hold in trust for posterity.

If you fail to keep this sacred trust inviolate, if I am nullified and destroyed, you and your children will become slaves to dictators and despots.

Eternal vigilance is your price of freedom.

As you see me silhouetted against the peaceful skies of my country, remind yourself that I am the flag of your country, that I stand for what you are – no more, no less.

Guard me well, lest your freedom perish from the earth.

Dedicate your lives to those principles for which I stand: « One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. »

I was created in freedom. I made my first appearance in a battle for human liberty.

God grant that I may spend eternity in my « land of the free and the home of the brave » and that I shall ever be known as « Old Glory, » the flag of the United States of America.

Voir egalement:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shWyIxnjNAI

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnnycash/raggedoldflag.html

« Ragged Old Flag »

Johnny Cash

I walked through a county courthouse square

On a park bench, an old man was sittin’ there.

I said, « Your old court house is kinda run down,

He said, « Naw, it’ll do for our little town ».

I said, « Your old flag pole is leaned a little bit,

And that’s a ragged old flag you got hangin’ on it ».

He said, « Have a seat », and I sat down,

« Is this the first time you’ve been to our little town »

I said, « I think it is »

He said « I don’t like to brag, but we’re kinda proud of

That Ragged Old Flag

« You see, we got a little hole in that flag there,

When Washington took it across the Delaware.

and It got powder burned the night Francis Scott Key sat watching it,

writing « Say Can You See »

It got a rip in New Orleans, with Packingham & Jackson

tugging at its seams.

and It almost fell at the Alamo

beside the Texas flag,

But she waved on though.

She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville,

And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.

There was Robert E. Lee and Beauregard and Bragg,

And the south wind blew hard on

That Ragged Old Flag

« On Flanders Field in World War I,

She got a big hole from a Bertha Gun,

She turned blood red in World War II

She hung limp, and low, a time or two,

She was in Korea, Vietnam, She went where she was sent

by her Uncle Sam.

She waved from our ships upon the briny foam

and now they’ve about quit wavin’ back here at home

in her own good land here She’s been abused,

She’s been burned, dishonored, denied an’ refused,

And the government for which she stands

Has been scandalized throughout out the land.

And she’s getting thread bare, and she’s wearin’ thin,

But she’s in good shape, for the shape she’s in.

Cause she’s been through the fire before

and I believe she can take a whole lot more.

« So we raise her up every morning

And we bring her down slow every night,

We don’t let her touch the ground,

And we fold her up right.

On second thought

I *do* like to brag

Cause I’m mighty proud of

That Ragged Old Flag »

Voir par ailleurs:

Board Votes to Require Recitation of Pledge at Public Schools

Edward Wyatt

The NYT

October 18, 2001

The New York City Board of Education unanimously adopted a resolution last night to require all public schools to lead students in the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of every school day and at all schoolwide assemblies and events.

The resolution, which also states that students and staff members will neither be compelled to participate nor disciplined if they choose not to recite the pledge, is essentially a copy of a state education law already on the books.

But the requirement to recite the pledge has been all but ignored at most New York City schools for much of the last 30 years, since the waning days of the Vietnam War, education officials say.

Ninfa Segarra, the president of the Board of Education and the sponsor of the resolution, said,  »It’s a small way to thank the heroes of 9/11 and let them know they won’t be forgotten in our public schools. »

Schools Chancellor Harold O. Levy said yesterday afternoon that he also supported the resolution, but he cautioned that citizens have a greater responsibility to guard against discrimination and to tolerate dissenting views.

But the New York Civil Liberties Union objected strongly to the proposal, noting that the New York City school system has many students who are not American citizens. Those students are likely  »to be scapegoated or targeted for harassment » if they do not participate, said Donna Lieberman, interim director of the organization.

In 1943, the United States Supreme Court ruled in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette that public school students could not be compelled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. In that landmark decision, Justice Robert H. Jackson wrote,  »To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds. »

The resolution comes as school districts around the country grapple with the issue of what displays of patriotism are appropriate at a time of both national pride and mourning. The school board in Madison, Wis., created an uproar when it initially banned the pledge of allegiance despite a new state law calling for a daily display of patriotism. But this week, the board reversed it decision after hundreds of residents protested.

In the Madison case, opponents of saying the pledge said that it was militaristic and that the words  »under God, » which were added to the pledge in 1954, were a religious reference that did not belong in public schools.

No such sentiments were voiced yesterday at the Board of Education’s headquarters in Brooklyn. When Ms. Segarra announced at an afternoon session of the board that the resolution was likely to be adopted later that evening, a crowd of nearly 100 students, teachers and others attending the meeting burst into applause.

At the evening meeting, several people spoke in favor of the resolution, including Curtis Sliwa, the radio personality and founder of the Guardian Angels.

Mr. Sliwa spoke of his uncle, who he said was a custodian at James Madison High School in Brooklyn, and whose job it was to make sure every classroom had a flag.

 »If one of those flags was spoiled or tattered, he would make sure to replace it, » Mr. Sliwa said.

He said he supported the pledge resolution because  »it brings everyone together » in what has long been a racially divided city that places more emphasis on differences than similarities.

Mr. Levy, who will be responsible for making sure the resolution is put into effect, was more cautious in his support.

 »At every opportunity, » he said,  »we should make sure that tolerance is something that we teach, both by example and by reminding people what’s important. »

Teachers and children should also be reminded  »to be protective of particularly the Muslim children and children who wear traditional garb, » Mr. Levy said.  »This is what it is to be an American, as well as saluting the flag. »

The resolution also sets a goal for schools to display the American flag outside the building and in as many classrooms as is practical, and it encourages schools to form color guards to present the flags of the city, state and nation at assemblies.

State education law already has similar requirements, going so far as to set out the sizes of flags and the materials of which they should be made.

The law also requires the observance of Flag Day, June 14, in all schools, and the teaching of proper care of the flag: it should be brushed with a soft cloth once a week, for example.

But both the state and the new city regulation make implicit note of the Supreme Court’s ruling in saying that neither teachers nor students can be compelled to participate in the pledge. The state regulation specifically notes a lower court’s ruling that those refusing to salute the flag may not be required to stand or to leave the room.

Voir aussi:

http://www.policyarchive.org/handle/10207/275

Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

June 2006

Abstract:

Many Members of Congress see continued tension between « free speech » decisions of the Supreme Court, which protect flag desecration as expressive conduct under the First Amendment, and the symbolic importance of the United States flag. Consequently, every Congress that has convened since those decisions were issued has considered proposals that would permit punishment of those who engage in flag desecration. The 106th Congress narrowly failed to send a constitutional amendment to allow punishment of flag desecration to the States. In the 107th and 108th Congresses, such proposals were passed by the House.

This report is divided into two parts. The first gives a brief history of the flag protection issue, from the enactment of the Flag Protection Act in 1968 through current consideration of a constitutional amendment. The second part briefly summarizes the two decisions of the United States Supreme Court, Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichman, that struck down the state and federal flag protection statutes as applied in the context punishing expressive conduct.

In 1968, Congress reacted to the numerous public flag burnings in protest of the Vietnam conflict by passing the first federal flag protection act of general applicability. For the next 20 years, the lower courts upheld the constitutionality of this statute and the Supreme Court declined to review these decisions. However, in Texas v. Johnson, the majority of the Court held that a conviction for flag desecration under a Texas statute was inconsistent with the First Amendment and affirmed a decision of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals that barred punishment for burning the flag as part of a public demonstration.

In response to Johnson, Congress passed the federal Flag Protection Act of 1989. But, in reviewing this act in United States v. Eichman, the Supreme Court expressly declined the invitation to reconsider Johnson and its rejection of the contention that flag-burning, like obscenity or « fighting words, » does not enjoy the full protection of the First Amendment as a mode of expression. The only question not addressed in Johnson, and therefore the only question the majority felt necessary to address, was « whether the Flag Protection Act is sufficiently distinct from the Texas statute that it may constitutionally be applied to proscribe appellees’ expressive conduct. » The majority of the Court held that it was not.

Congress, recognizing that Johnson and Eichman had left little hope of an antidesecration statute being upheld, has considered in each Congress subsequent to these decisions a constitutional amendment to empower Congress to protect the physical integrity of the flag. In the 109th Congress, H.J.Res. 5, H.J.Res.10, and S.J.Res. 12 would authorize Congress to prohibit and penalize desecration of the flag of the United States. H.J.Res. 5 would also authorize the States to prohibit and penalize desecration. On June 22, 2005, the House passed H.J.Res. 10 by a vote of 286 to 130. The Senate is expected to take up the proposed amendment in late June 2006.

Voir enfin:

Amendment on Flag Burning Fails by One Vote in Senate

Carl Hulse And John Holusha

The NYT

June 27, 2006

WASHINGTON, June 27 — The Senate today fell one vote short of approving a constitutional amendment that would have enabled Congress to ban desecration of the American flag.

The vote was 66 to 34. To pass, the measure needed 67 votes.

The excruciatingly close vote was a disappointing blow to supporters who have fought since 1989 to create a constitutional amendment. But it was the closest they have come to achieving their goal in three attempts in the Senate.

Opponents had argued that the the initiative amounted to tampering with the Bill of Rights. Some accused Republicans of trying to create a divisive issue for this fall’s congressional elections. « This is politics at its worst, » said Senator Frank Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey.

But the advocates of the measure said the flag was a unique national symbol that merited special standing. « It is time that this body acted to protect Old Glory, » said Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky.

Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah and the chief sponsor of the amendment, predicted before the vote that those who opposed the amendment would be penalized by the voters if it was again defeated.

« I think this is getting to where they are not going to be able to escape the wrath of the voters, » said Mr. Hatch.

But opponents, mainly Democrats, criticized the Republican leadership for devoting Senate attention to the amendment when the nation faces other serious problems and for tampering with the Constitution’s Bill of Rights in response to relatively rare incidents of flag burning.

« This objectionable expression is obscene, it is painful, it is unpatriotic, » said Senator Daniel Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii and winner of the Medal of Honor for his service in World War II. « But I believe Americans gave their lives in many wars to make certain all Americans have a right to express themselves, even those who harbor hateful thoughts. »

In the debate, proponents sought to make a case of high principle: recapturing for Congress a power taken away by the Supreme Court in a 1989 decision.

That decision, in a Texas case, said flag burning was an expression of free speech and invalidated the flag desecration laws in 48 states.

Senator Hatch said the amendment would « restore the constitution to what it was before unelected jurists changed it five to four. » He went on to say, « Five lawyers decided 48 states were wrong. »

With the July 4 holiday looming and elections within sight, even senators opposing the amendment were careful to express their reverence for the flag and their revulsion at any desecration. But Senator Russell D. Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, noted that 17 years after the court’s decision, « Our nation is still standing strong. »

Mr. Feingold said the proposal would « cut back the Bill of Rights for the first time. » The debate seemed at times to have echoes of the Vietnam war era, with Senator Thomas R. Carper, Democrat of Delaware, observing that flag burning was a common form of protest in the 1970’s but has been little seen since then.

« It hardly ever happens, » he said warning that if the amendment passes, flag burning might become more attractive to political protesters.

But Senator Mel Martinez, Republican of Florida, said any desecration of the flag was unacceptable, saying, « People place great importance in symbols of national unity. »

Senators favoring the amendment and legislation prohibiting desecration of the flag emphasized that the court’s ruling had effectively changed the Constitution and that the amendment could restore the previous condition.

« This is the only way to balance the branches of government, » said Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma. Along with other senators, he said the first amendment was meant to apply to speech only, not behavior.

But Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, denounced the measure as an effort to « seek to turn the flag into a political weapon. » He said supporters of the amendment wanted to « try to stir public passion for political ends. »

Among those calling the proposal unnecessary was Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who countered with a proposal that would protect the flag and also restrict the antigay and other demonstrations at military funerals and at national cemeteries. Mr. Durbin’s measure was also defeated.The amendment, a single sentence stating that « the Congress shall have the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States, » has already passed the House of Representatives, so a Senate vote approving it would have sent the measure to the states, most of which have adopted expressions of opposition to flag desecration.

Carl Hulse reported from Washington for this article and John Holusha from New York.

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