As I walked inside the doors of the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia last fall, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of patriotism and pride for my country. Red, white and blue flags decorated the home where Betsy Ross hand-sewed the first American flag in 1776 and created the iconic image that represents the entire country.
Our flag is a symbol of the American Dream and what it means to be American. We as U.S. citizens should uphold that, not tear it down.
Recent events at University of California, Irvine have taken away the sense of pride many of us have for the American flag. Associated Students of UC Irvine, the undergraduate governing body, passed a resolution with a 6-4 vote March 5 from the Legislative Council that would ban the hanging of flags of any country in their lobby.
One of the members on the council said some students felt uncomfortable coming into the lobby and seeing that the flag was hanging on the wall, according to an article by the UCI campus newspaper. This caused debates on campus and led to the veto of the resolution March 7 by the Executive Cabinet.
The UCI community began to exhibit actions of backlash, which included death threats to those calling for the ban of the American flag, according to an UCI press release March 10. A meeting to discuss the veto of the resolution that day was cancelled in response to the threat.
The death threats to the council are unnecessary because they solve nothing. It is essential that students are showing they really care about the issue in other ways.
Hundreds of students and outsiders took to social media, expressing their opinions about the recent vote using #Americanflag.
My parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico when they were approximately five years old. Since my birth, they have tried to instill the American culture in me while simultaneously educating me about my Hispanic roots.
Being born in the United States, I have embraced patriotism and cherished what it means to be an American while keeping my Mexican heritage. Part of that is embracing the American flag and the Mexican flag equally.
With a Hispanic background, I can understand why the Legislative Council wanted to ban the American flag from hanging in the lobby. Although the intention of the flag was for decoration, according to the Legislative Council, it can be seen as a lack of diversity within the student government.
In light of all of this controversy, the entire country watched to see how the university and its students reacted. Banning the American flag from a public university is sending a message that we should not respect such an important symbol of our history.
The American flag is essential to our society and it has been with us for over 300 years. The red and white stripes represent the 13 original colonies and 50 stars symbolize the states of our nation.
Our flag represents our beginning and where we are now. When we stand to recite the pledge of allegiance, looking to the flag, we stand for our patriotism and fundamental rights.