Thursday, September 27, 2012


Dear Mr. President:
On September 14, at Andrews Air Force Base, you paid tribute to four Americans who lost their lives in the service of our country. These individuals were killed by terrorists who carried out an orchestrated attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Along with their families, friends and co-workers, you met the caskets containing the remains of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty and Sean Smith.
In closing your tribute to these men, you said that “the flag they served under now carries them home.” Indeed it did. American flags draped the caskets of each of these patriots and were solemnly presented to their families “on behalf of a grateful nation.” As you know, the manner in which the American flag is placed on a casket, and how it is folded, are rich in meaning. The protocol symbolically unites the deceased with America’s first patriots, who won our independence.
This month, in the course of a few days, Americans saw contrasting images of our flag in the news media. As described above, they watched you at Andrews AFB, a familiar ceremony in which the flag is proudly and prominently displayed to convey American resolve, but also a sense of national mourning. On the other hand, American citizens saw video footage showing angry Muslims desecrating the Stars and Stripes to demonstrate the depth of their hatred for America. Their understanding of how important our flag is to us is precisely the reason they burn it.
Last week, as fundamentalist Muslim mobs burned American flags, it was revealed that you, Mr. President, took our nation’s banner, modified it with your political logo, and offered it for sale on your website. The modified American flag was designed for your personal and political profit.
Mr. President, this is repugnant.
Since your modified American flag was brought to the public’s attention, veterans and other patriotic Americans have protested your desecration of it. Today, the modified flag no longer appears for sale on your website. I’d like to think that once this graven image was brought to your attention, you fixed the problem. If only that were so.

Congress has passed laws and government institutions have written protocols for the proper use and display of the flag. The modified flag that you sold on your website, Mr. President, likely violates one or more of these established rules. But that is not what is most troubling about this situation.
What is most concerning is that by modifying America’s flag, you violated the trust of the American people. You violated the honor of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty and Sean Smith. You violated the memory of American heroes who fought and died for our country and you did so willingly.
By failing to apologize, and by implying that you would continue to sell the modified flag, you have disrespected our flag and those who gave their lives for it. You placed personal ambition above our nation’s honor. That is a malady of the heart.
Thomas P. Kilgannon
President, Freedom Alliance

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