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Flag Flap Gets Readers Writing

By Jim Belshaw
Of the Journal
    On Friday, I wrote of the UNM flag controversy. I asked how such an easily explained incident— an ROTC flag detail took down the U.S. flag at the end of the day, but mistakenly left up a Mexican flag— could become a raging controversy about patriotism.
    Readers have written. I have not the space for all of the mail. It will appear in its entirety on my Journal blog at www.abqjournal.com/belshaw. Thanks to all who wrote.
    We begin:
    LC, Albuquerque— I am not surprised you don't think the flag is worth getting upset over. You don't have any pride in America and what it stands for ...
    AP— Why should we worry about Mexico ... (taking) over our country? People like you would just give it away without a fight.
    JH, Albuquerque— Of course you know you will incur the wrath of those of who think UNM is evidence pro se that the communists have taken over.
    I personally had no problem with taking the (Mexican) flag down and turning it in. But tearing it up was a simple misdemeanor and he should have been charged. With 22 years in the USAF, 17 of which as a cop, I surely would have charged him.
    TS— It appears that with this article you have indicated your own level of patriotism. If a person is not patriotic in the little things ... then that person cannot be counted on for the tougher battles. You show me an old veteran that does not get excited about this issue and I will show you a wimp.
    LDM, Albuquerque— I served with the 1st Marine Division during the Korean War.
    In reference to the young man who felt the need to dismantle the Mexican flag and basically destroy it, I think it would have been more prudent to obtain a U.S. flag and run it up the halyard ...
    Also, I think some of the self-appointed patriots who think this young man's actions were warranted need to study the definition of a patriot.
    DW— Speaking as a veteran, I never would have believed that the day would come that a newspaper writer would print an article advocating and promoting disrespect for our flag ... The flag may not mean much to you, but to me it is a symbol of freedom and what is good about this country.
    GA, Albuquerque— I'm sick of all this pseudo-patriotism I've seen since 9/11 ... I'm sure you're already getting flamed by the patriotic right for having the nerve to write this article. Thanks again.
    CG, Albuquerque— Peter Lynch was self-motivated by patriotism freely given. He saw the symbolic content of the Mexican flag flying over the UNM campus, and his reaction was only marginally beyond appropriate ...
    UNM had allowed itself to be clothed in the Mexican flag. Inadvertent or not, UNM was symbolically stating a prime loyalty to Mexico.
    JL— I am a Marine Corps officer with over 16 years of service. I think (people) have overreacted to this whole situation. Everyone is so eager to demonstrate their patriotism in short spurts. Here is an idea ... put on a pair of boots.
    Semper Fi.
    HR, Albuquerque— As 24-year veteran of the Air Force, I find this false patriotism shtick abominable. I have come close to quitting one of the veterans organizations I belong to many times over their fight to get an amendment to the Constitution over flag burning. Do they not realize that the freedom to burn the flag and show yourself to be an idiot ... was what we were serving to protect?
    DL, Rio Rancho— It seems like some people's "patriotism" is based more on fear and weakness than strength and freedom ... Sometimes there is more concern over the flag than over what the flag stands for. How odd that some of the "law and order" folks are so happy to see someone break the law.
    MV— I will not actually say what I feel about your (column) because it would be out of line and very childish and ugly, filled with lots of profanity because I am so angry and disappointed! As Americans we need to stand together and get a grip on what is ours and make sure everybody respects it as that. Shame on you!!!!!!!! Have a nice U.S. AMERICAN DAY.
    Write to Jim Belshaw at The Albuquerque Journal, P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, NM 87103; telephone— 823-3930; e-mail— jbelshaw@abqjournal.com.