From the grassroots level, the American Legion has made the flag campaign issue for our politicians and a moral issue for America since 1989. Its a moral issue on which most Americans stand with us.

Scientific polls sponsored by The American Legion and the Citizens Flag Alliance prove an overwhelming majority of Americans wants the nation’s most revered symbol protected,

Despite that, some of your senators and representatives have failed to reflect the views of their constituents on this issue. An amendment giving Congress the power to protect the flag overwhelmingly has passed in the House of Representatives six times since 1995.

But the two times since then that the measure has gone before the Senate it’s come

within four votes of passage. When the amendment hasn’t gone to a vote, it’s typically been because of stalling on the part of its opponents.

But with the support the amendment currently has in the Senate, we have never been closer to passage than we are right now.

The appointment of Robert Menendez to replace Sen . Jon Corzine in New Jersey swapped one “no” vote for one “yes” vote in the Senate.

Cor-zine was opposed to flag protection, while Menendez voted in favor of it last June while serving in the House of Representatives. Both Maj. Gen, Patrick H, Brady, board chairman of the CFA and Medal of Honor recipient, and myself contacted Sen. Menendez, congratulating him for his appointment and thanking him for his past support. We believe we’ll have his vote again in the Senate, leaving us one vote short.

The opportunities to pick up that vote have never been better. It’s critical for Legion family members to contact their senators no matter what stance they may have. Thank those who support the amendnient , S. J. Res. 12, and ask them for their continued support, If your senators are opposed, ask them why, and ask them to please reconsider.

A small group of senators believes a statute will be enough to protect the flag, but tha t route has been tried in the past. It failed. The Supreme Court decision left no other option by which the people can pass laws protecting their flag from physical desecration.

Congress tried the Flag Protection Act of 1989, and it was ruled unconstitutional. Scholars agree that a constitutional amendment is necessary before a statute will stand.

Yet Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton. D-N.Y.; Robert Bennett, R-Utah; Kent Conrad, D-N.J.; Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.; and Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., all are co-sponsors of current flag-protection legislation that does not call for a constitutional amendment. These senators obviously desire to protect the flag. Thank them for their efforts while reminding them that their way is not the right way. Only an amendment will work.

The U.S. Flag is more than red, white and blue, more than stars and stripes sewn together. it was the symbol hoisted at Iwo Jima and at Ground Zero. It’s the symbol that reminds our service members why they’re putting their lives in peril, and its the symbol draped over the caskets of those service members who have paid the ultimate price defending America’s freedoms.

A symbol that has meant so many things to so many people for so long, one that stands for American values we all treasure, deserves to be treated with the utmost respect. We can make that happen this year.

Commander’s message.

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