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Thoughts on flag burning incident and the life of Whitney Houston

Love and peace for all who mourn

My thoughts on the Michigan father of a soldier who burned the NJ flag in protest of the lowering of the flag for Whitney Houston:

The man from Michigan who burned a NJ flag to show his upset about the honor to Whitney Houston is completely wrong.

First of all, it is wrong and taboo to interfere with the honors given to any person who has just died. If he wanted to make this statement, he should have waited a couple of weeks, and filed it as a reasoned complaint through appropriate channels. He should not have made a rude, public statement, to dishonor someone’s memory, while that person’s family, friends, and fans are still grieving.

More reasons that his flamboyant action to thwart the honoring of Whitney Houston was wrong:

He is being sexist. He is asserting that what men in our culture are praised for doing – being soldiers – is less honorable than what women are usually praised for doing – being beautiful, expressing emotions, and nurturing through culture and art. It is not “right” that there is a historical pattern of women’s work and men’s work being different, and that there are culture patterns about what is acceptable for women and what is acceptable for men. But, women of our generations still feel those roles and opinions. And, we should not be attacked for working within the realms that people most often assign to us and praise us for.

This soldier’s father is asserting that war is the ultimate action. And, he is asserting that actions of war and violence are more noble than actions of peace and nonviolence. Artists, musicians, writers, and community organizers who try to teach about love, peace, and living a good life are just as important as his son and other soldiers. And, perhaps, the artists may be better, because they often have devoted themselves unwaveringly to nonviolent solutions.

When Whitney Houston devoted her talents and energy to singing and promoting the song “I believe that children are our future”, she was paving a pathway for peace in our world. She was teaching and inspiring people to understand how to love themselves and their children, so that the world would be a better place.

Though, besides my feelings of anger that this man is dishonoring Whitney Houston, and dishonoring people who work for peace, I also feel a lot of pity for him.

This man from Michigan lost his son to a foreign war for oil. He and/or his son was tricked into being a tool for the greedy corporations and the 1% in the world, to fight and kill in order to protect markets and to make more money. It is tragic that his son died. And, this man’s tragic lack of understanding about why his son truly died, and this man’s tragic need to feel that his son’s violent actions and violent death had meaning, is the true force for his bizarre and misdirected anger at this time.

He does not need to be angry at the Governor of New Jersey over flying a flag. (Though, perhaps, the governors of our states should work more on stopping wars.) And, he does not need to be angry, or jealous, or whatever of Whitney Houston and her family. This man needs to recognize the mistake his son made by joining the military. And, he needs to come to terms with the fact that his son died in vain. If he could do that, he would be less likely to be running around burning flags and demanding laurels for soldiers.

Ironically, in order to understand what happened to his son, he would probably have to read a lot of wise poetry, and listen to a lot of profound songs about war and peace, in order to awaken his heart to the dignity of humanity, and the folly of war.

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6 Responses

  1. This man’s son was honored with the flag of the United States because he was a hero to the United States. You have a right to be against the war, to hate the country, and to look down on anyone who stands behind his country’s decisions. But when you turn your back on our country what makes you think you should have a say in who to honor with that country’s flag?

    You believe honoring soldiers is sexist. Did you forget about the woman fighting for our country? Many pretty and talented people die everyday. Many of them have also brought joy to people. Are you saying that the flags should be kept down everyday?

    The flag burner’s son died fighting for his country. Whether or not you personally agree with the countries decision or not is irrelevant. Whitney Houston died from dangerous, most likely illegal drugs that she took for her own pleasure. Gov. Christie should be ashamed of himself For brig so shallow and using our country’s flag to honor someone like this.

    • I disagree with you on a variety of levels.

      I think that a public school teacher does more for American than a soldier.

      I think that a fireman does more for America than a soldier.

      So, I don’t think people should put soldiers above other people who are of service.

      And, being an artist – a singer who expresses thoughts and emotions – is also a service to America.

      I do not hate America. But, I hate violence. And, I don’t think people who choose violence as a way of life — either the politicians who call for war, or the soldiers who sign up to fight in the war — are better than artists, or even better than regular people.

  2. Soldiers are not better than teachers, artists, or anyone who serves his/ her country. All of these people should be honored in other ways. But certain honors must be reserved for active duty to one’s country. Is it fair to lower the flag for Whitney Houston and not a local choir leader who gave up her time to make others happy? It is no longer a special honor if it is lowered for everyone.

    Without the lowered flag there has been far more done to remember Houston than for most of the soldiers and most other people. I understand that because she is famous her death has touched more people. This is one of the perks of being famous. But having the flag lowered is one of the perks of actively serving. This should be taken away from them.

    As I said, being famous has benefits but there are also negatives. Houston’s family had an entire cemetary closed for an entire day so she can have the honors of a famous person and the privacy of a citizen. Because of this other people were not able to visit their loved ones on their birthday. Maybe this flag burner shouldn’t have taken Houston’s honor away. But Houston’s family should not be taking honors away from others.

    • We can keep stretching this until it encompasses everyone related to Whitney Houston when the topic is about the Michigan father burning the flag.
      I don’t care for the burning of anyones flags. I think of how I feel when I see the American flag burning. it’s never a good feeling. Especially when you’re only mad at one person or a body of government. Why insult the entire country or state, as the case may be.

      On the matter of our soldiers, I think about them every single day. I’m guessing that most Americans do. Having stated that, I too am uncomfortable with the idea that they are the most important individuals in our country. They keep us safe when called to do so, but in my day to day life, anyone who uplifts my soul is important to me. Anyone who inspires me to do good and be better is important to me. Anyone making a positive difference in my life is important to me. I’m guessing that we all feel this way.
      We are all parts of the whole and should all be honored by each other.
      This is what bothers me the most about the flag burning and the criticism of governor Christie, Whitney and the rest of the Houstons . Why do we find it necessary to dishonor others in order to be express our opinions?

  3. You don’t think soldiers should be the most important. But why should celebrities be the most important? I’m not saying it was right for the man to dishonor Houston. But it’s hard to feel sorry for them when they,re trampling on the memories of others. I think it’s disgusting that they would have the cemetary closed of for the entire day. They wanted a private service like a private person. But unlike a private person they weren’t content with a modest two hour service. They needed the entire day and they didn’t care about all the little people who also wanted to remember their loved ones. Some of them missed honoring them on anniversaries, or birthdays. The Houstons didnt care if people came from far away. They didn’t care about anyone but themselves and their own loss

    • What reports are you reading?
      They held a brief private ceremony at the cemetery. The cemetery is still closed to all but those with loved ones buried there. This was done because of the overwhelming numbers showing up to visit Houston’s grave.

      Yes! Soldiers should be honored.
      A celeb will get more press because they’re known by millions. But, why are we equating press coverage with honor? That coverage is simply about ratings. It’s up to us to honor whomever we’d like.
      Soldiers aren’t going to be at the top of the list for everyone (that’s a personal choice, isn’t it?), but they’ll still make the list for most.

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