July 20, 2010

Why sully the flag?

I believe the new Maryland license plates violate the federal Flag Code, and should be recalled.

Here is the first verse:
O! say can you see by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming.
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

The State of Maryland has stopped issuing its usual plain black-on-white license plates, and is now issuing instead, for everyone, a special "War of 1812 commemorative plate" featuring "the Star Spangled Banner", i.e., an American flag:

To our knowledge, this is the first of its kind – no other state plate bears the national flag.

Now, the federal Flag Code states:
"The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way."
Just look around, and you will see that automobile license plates are "easily ... soiled". The flags on these plates will be soiled with dust, mud, and salt. So, these plates – again, the first of their kind; no other state requires that our nation's flag be placed on car bumpers to get splattered and grimy – violate the federal Flag Code, and should be recalled.

Why sully the flag?

Please join us, NeuroCooking friends, in asking Mr. Martin O'Malley, the Governor of Maryland, to recall the plates. You can leave a message for him at 410.974.3901 or 1.800.811.8336; to email him, you need to use this web form. Whether you write or call, we ask you to stay positive! Talk about the flag as a symbol of our nation, remind him that license plates get dirty, and ask the Governor to recall the plates, because it's the right thing to do.

[Please note: Photo credits: National Park Service; Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. I'm not an attorney, just a citizen.]

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