Rather than allow the traditional flag-folding ceremony as an option at the burial of our nation's veterans, the long-standing tradition has been banned by a government bureaucrat? Why? Because of a complaint over a reference to God.
Flag-folding recitations by Memorial Honor Detail volunteers are now banned at the nationís 125 veterans graveyards because of a complaint about the ceremony at Riverside National Cemetery.
During thousands of military burials, the volunteers have folded the American flag 13 times and recited the significance of every fold to survivors.
The first fold represents life, the second a belief in eternal life, and so on.
The complaint revolved around the narration in the 11th fold, which celebrates Jewish war veterans and ďglorifies the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.Ē
The National Cemetery Administration then decided to ban the entire recital at all national cemeteries. Details of the complaint werenít disclosed.
Administration spokesman Mike Nacincik said the new policy outlined in a Sept. 27 memorandum is aimed at creating uniform services throughout the military graveyard system.
He said the 13-fold recital is not part of the U.S. Flag Code and is not government-approved.
And, of course, we can't have anything that isn't in the Flag Code. So let's ban the ceremony by government fiat. As I recall, though, the Flag Code also bans disrespectful burning of the flag. I guess that some speech is just a little more equal than other speech.
But most distressing is that a single complaint has resulted in the destruction of a long-standing tradition, and its denial to those who find comfort in the ceremony at a time of loss. Wouldn't a reasonable approach have been to require that the family be asked as a part of the funeral arrangements whether the ritual was welcome?
Veteran volunteers are planning a little civil disobedience on this one.
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