I proudly served my country as a U.S. Marine. I am a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Vietnam Veterans of America. In all three of those organizations I wear a flag on my shoulder. I have a U.S. flag prominently displayed at my home.
I love the flag, but I did not serve in defense of the flag or a song. I served in defense of the Constitution. I took an oath to protect that document, not to any flag.
It is important to understand the difference between the flag and the values that flag represents, the most important of which is free speech and the right to peacefully assemble and protest.
Patriotism is not about standing at attention, saluting flags or singing songs. And I am tired of patriotism being branded and solely claimed by fragile, conservative white Americans who can’t bear the thought that The American Experiment and The American Dream is not something they exclusively own.