POW/MIA Flag editorial in The Washington Spectator/Newsweek Magazine
Letter to the Editor:
The American Servicemen/Women past and present deserve better than this. Another attack on free speech by a journalist named Rick Perlstein working for The Washington Spectator/Newsweek Magazine who recently wrote an article August 13th 2015 about the POW/MIA flag as being propaganda and racist. Here is a portion of his editorial: â€œYou know that racist flag? The one that supposedly honors history but actually spreads a pernicious myth? And is useful only to venal right-wing politicians who wish to exploit hatred by calling it heritage? Itâ€™s past time to pull it down.â€ Where have you heard a comment like that or along those lines and recently I might add, yes, South Carolina.
As a Vietnam Veteran, I find this comment exceedingly disturbing and it would appear that Mr. Perlstein has so little understanding or grasp of this flag and its inherent meaning. The history of this flag (Symbol) is as follows.
On March 9, 1989, an official League flag that flew over the White House on National POW/MIA Recognition Day 1988 was installed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda as a result of legislation passed overwhelmingly during the 100th Congress.
The Leagueâ€™s POW/MIA flag is the only flag ever displayed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda where it stands today as a powerful symbol of national commitment to Americaâ€™s POW/MIAs until the fullest possible accounting has been achieved for all U.S. personnel still missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Since then on August 10, 1990, the 101st Congress passed U.S. Public Law 101-355, which recognized the Leagueâ€™s POW/MIA flag and designated it as the â€œSymbolâ€ of our Nationâ€™s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, thus ending the uncertainty for their families.
While in session for the 105th Congress, passage of Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act requires the POW/MIA flag to fly six days each year which includes and not limited to, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day and Veterans Day. With no exception, this flag must be displayed/flown at the White House, U.S. Capitol, Departments of State, Defense and Veterans Affairs, headquarters of the Selective Service System, major military installations as designated by the Secretary of the Defense. This flag is also flown at all Federal cemeteries and all offices of the U.S. Postal Service. To those veterans who see this flag flying each time they go to the VA in Reno or elsewhere, the Department of Veterans Affairs voluntarily displays the POW/MIA flag on a 24/7 bases.
As another result of the 105th Congress passage of this section 1082, the World War II, Korean War and the National Vietnam Veterans Memorials are all required by Congress/law to display the POW/MIA flag. In all fifty States, more State Capitals than not fly this flag daily, you can find this flag (Symbol) flying on personal flag poles, non-government funded memorial parks and many other locations across our great Nation.
The importance of the Leagueâ€™s POW/MIA flag lies in its continued visibility, a constant reminder of the plight of Americaâ€™s POW/MIAs. Other than â€œOld Gloryâ€, the Leagueâ€™s POW/MIA flag is the only flag ever to fly over the White House, having been displayed in this place of honor on National POW/MIA Recognition Day since 1982.
Obviously a very liberal journalist with an agenda, making such a comment in thinking this flag to be considered for any other intent than to which it was created or to even give consideration, or that his opinion even matters, I think that is self-conclusive as I seriously think not! What is very disappointing is that this journalist had willing accompliceâ€™s in that of the editors of The Washington Spectator/Newsweekâ€™s who themselves are clueless and what it represents allowing such an editorial to go to print. Yes, thank God we do have freedom of speech as we all know now more than ever what The Washington Spectator and Newsweek and particularly what this journalist really thinks, but in fact, we know now who truly invokes propaganda and racistâ€™s ideals.
Pearlstein Name being partly Americanized a form of Ashkenazic a Jewish name, makes one wonder what his thoughts are on the holocaust and that of the Jewish people who just disappeared, never to return, families not knowing, wondering, never to know what sacrifice or what became of their loved ones, these people who gave their all and I am not referring to those as yet who lost their lives in concentration camps!
Many American servicemen/women disappeared in WW II not only in concentration camps but on the front lines and in organizations/resistance groups along with their European counter parts in the underground, though their main weapon was anonymity in fighting the Naziâ€™s it did not always work and they were never to be heard from again. This flag, this symbol stands for all those Americans now whose dedication to duty we will never know and that of their plight!
I think one with any common sense, integrity and honesty can say, this flag DOES NOT represent a symbol of propaganda and racism as Mr. Perlstein would want you to believe as you were supposed to derive this analogy from his editorial.
It is my own personal opinion and you can be certain of, the journalistic skills or lack of in the likes of Mr. Perlstein and that of The Washington Spectator/Newsweek magazine are NOT a direct representation of patriotism in this Country or that of the American people, or what good responsible and honest journalism should be, but then again, what is honesty in America anymore?