Do you believe the American flag is respected more or less today than in 1970? This is the third story written in response to my English paper about a Flag Wearing Youth Ordered to Pay Fines in the early seventies: dateline – Charlotte, N.C., date – May 6, 1970, 17- year-old boy ordered to appear in court for wearing a flag on his jacket with words ‘give peace a chance’ written across it. North Carolina law prohibits anything being written or placed on the flag, boy found guilty on technicality – no criminal intent to desecrate, deface or defile the United States flag.
If you are reading this with flashbacks of the tumultuous 70s, you will appreciate my written response as a 17-year-old wondering if my boyfriend would be drafted to Vietnam, conflicting views concerning politics and patriotism, and uneasiness about the affairs of our world. Giving peace a chance should be heralded as top priority with people across the land of the free and the brave.
Sharing parts of my 70s response releases my take on fining the 17-year-old for wearing the message to give peace a chance.
“ …If more Americans would give peace a chance our world would be a better place. This article brought to mind an incident aired on national news last week. A mob of students were marching against President Nixon’s move in Cambodia at a northern university. The president of the university had the flag, which always flew over the campus, taken down. He had the flag removed because he was afraid of the threats from students who vowed to tear it down. Yet, these students were not fined as was the seventeen year old for wearing the flag with ‘give peace a chance’ across it. They only received national publicity which fiercely fueled the ‘tear down the American flag’ flame!
Why are we witnessing such foolishness in our nation? Why are Americans becoming blind to things which can destroy future freedoms and national unity in our country? Why is there bias in sentencing and news coverage? It seems if you are a loyal person you lose and if you are a protestor of America you gain.
Really what these people gain is nothing which will get them through that last gate. You cannot demonstrate and protest your way into heaven. You must give peace a chance and God will give you the peace of knowing you are headed in the right way.”
Mr. Randall marked my paper and wrote 96 in red near the right corner. Pondering what I would write today concerning national news coverage, protesting, sex scandals, dishonesty among Americans, betrayal, removal of Ten Commandments from court houses, dishonor for our flag and National Anthem, prohibiting prayer from places where it once echoed through halls, open fields and gymnasiums where recreation events began with prayer, and good character suffering rapid decline like a fierce lion with a faint roar. Where are we headed? What can we do? And I realized all the papers written, protests planned and promoted, and pursuits to be happy and give peace a chance will never pan out until we the people ‘go and tell’ of God’s wonderful love and live by Jesus’ example.
The past is gone and we can’t change it. The present is now when lovingly letting our Christian voices be heard and words penned can bring positive change. The future is dawning when what the world needs is love sweet love for it truly is the only thing that there’s just too little of. And when we love per God’s greatest commandment…peace will have a chance and people will come to Christ!
What can we do? We can pray and believe that God can turn things around and help peace be found! May we accept a national challenge to ‘give peace a chance’ and help teach the world to sing in perfect harmony…and let it begin with you and me!
Becky Spell Vann is the owner/operator of Tim’s Gift Ministry.