Monday, July 2, 2012

Capitol Monitor - The Meaning Of Our Flag

Congressman Randy Forbes | Capitol Monitor
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The Meaning Of Our Flag

At the National Museum of American History in Washington, a large American flag drapes the entire back wall of the lobby. It's a bit tattered, worn, and has dirt smears across some of the stripes. Visitors linger, take photos, and admire the solemn dignity that exudes from this 30-foot tall flag. But this flag is more than a piece of cloth; it is the flag that draped the Pentagon after 9/11.

The flag continues to personify the liberties, freedoms, and values that our nation holds so dear.  Whether it is World War II, where our troops braved the treacherous climb up the hillside of Iwo Jima to hoist "Old Glory" atop the island, or when the flag was raised with honor, dignity, and profound patriotism in New York City and on the side of the Pentagon after the terrorist attacks in 2001, Americans cannot ignore the deep pride that swells within us when we see the American flag proudly waving at our homes and schools or at our National Monuments and Museums.  

On June 14, 1777 the Continental Congress passed an Act to establish an official flag for the new nation. The resolution ordered that "the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." Red symbolizes hardiness and valor; white symbolizes purity and innocence and blue represents vigilance.

For more than 200 years, the American flag has been the symbol of our nation's unity, as well as a source of pride and inspiration for millions of citizens. This Fourth of July, millions of Americans will display the flag as we celebrate the extraordinary start of our nation.  The American people view our flag as more than just a piece of cloth, but rather as a symbol of our strength and unity as a nation. It is a symbol that despite all that is wrong with our nation, there is more that is right and good and worth fighting for.

Our flag honors those who have fought to protect our nation, and is a constant reminder of the sacrifice of our nation's founders, patriots, and heroes.  It is the flag to which we pledge allegiance every morning in both Congress and in schools throughout our country.  This object and all that it represents is what we as Americans hold so dear and which serves as the inspiration for people and nations across the globe that yearn for freedom and democracy.   

This Fourth of July, it is important that we remember the ways in which we can show respect for our flag and those who have served under it.  When displaying the flag, remember these simple rules of etiquette:

- It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.

- The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.

- The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.

- The flag should never be displayed with union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

- The flag should be displayed daily and on all holidays, weather permitting, on or near the main administration buildings of all public institutions. It should also be displayed in or near every polling place on election days and in or near every schoolhouse during school days.

- When displayed against a wall or a window, the blue field should be uppermost and to the left of the observer.

- When the flag is raised or lowered as part of a ceremony as it passes by in parade or review, everyone, except those in uniform, should face the flag with the right hand over the heart.

- The flag should never be dipped toward any person or object, nor should the flag ever touch anything beneath it.

For more flag etiquette tips or if you would like to purchase a flag flown over the United States Capitol, please visit my website.

So when you briskly hoist "Old Glory" this Fourth of July, when you recite the Pledge of Allegiance, or simply walk past a flag snapping in the breeze, take a moment to pause and reflect on the flag as it proclaims our  nation's freedom, perseverance, and justice.

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Congressman Forbes Defends Religious Liberties

Last week Congressman Forbes led 65 members of the United States House of Representatives in sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, over recent hostility geared towards religious liberties within the U.S. Air Force. From removing Latin references to God, to barring commanders from notifying airmen of Chaplain Corps programs, members of Congress are concerned about the pattern that is emerging from the Air Force. 

To further raise awareness on the issue, Congressman Forbes appeared on various national news programs and radio shows over the past week. He sat down with Steve Doocy of Fox New Channel's Fox & Friends and  spoke with Mike Huckabee on his nationally syndicated radio program, The Mike Huckabee Show.

If you missed any of these interviews, they are highlighted below for your viewing.

Fox & Friends: Click here to view

The Mike Huckabee Show: Click here to listen

Governor McDonnell Declares State Of Emergency For Severe Weather
Governor Bob McDonnell has declared a state of emergency in response to severe weather that affected the Commonwealth last week.
For information regarding power outages, cooling centers and available state assistance click here.
Red Tape Does Not Drive Economic Growth
Government spending on regulatory activities has increased so dramatically that it is growing at a rate that has completely overtaken GDP growth.
Follow this link to learn more.
FTC Charges Bogus .Precious Metals Investment Scheme
The Federal Trade Commission charged a telemarketing operation with running a deceptive investment scheme that took in at least $10 million from predominantly elderly consumers, many of whom invested their retirement savings buying precious metals on credit without knowing the significant costs and risks.

Follow this link to learn more.
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Calling on Secretary of Veterans Affairs to Address Severe Claims Backlog
  Congressman Forbes helps stuff USO Care Packages for our troops.
  Congressman Forbes meets with his constituents from the Virginia National Guard while in Afghanistan.
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