The confrontation between a Vietnam veteran and an Iraq veteran over the flag illustrates that free speech does not come easy in America. The young Iraqi vet, whose service we respect, should know that U.S. Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8, says: "The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property."
Many believe this nation faces extreme danger to its life and property, and we have a duty to say so. In 1872, German immigrant Carl Schurz (a U.S. senator and a Union general in the Civil War), said this to a politician who flaunted his patriotism: "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." This is the essence of true patriotism, in spite of those who still insist we have to "love America or leave it."
If any American chooses to fly our flag upside down to proclaim democratic distress, let it be.
BRUCE E. JONES