What Does It Say?
I knew I was going to miss my first vote. It was 2003, and Michele and I were in Washington D.C., while the Veto Session in Topeka dragged on a few days longer than expected. However, I knew we were in the right place.
While my colleagues were back home debating ground hogs and internet sales tax, I was in the presence of many great men and women who valiantly served our nation. One of the greatest was my friend: Rev. William Russell Bush. He was a mentor to me and a war hero. The stories and adventures he lived were better than a John Wayne movie. He was a hero among heroes. As a First Division Green Berea, U.S. Army, he lived a soldier's life that little children play out in make-believe in their back yards. Now he lay in a home-made casket surrounded by friends and family in a rainy, wet Arlington Cemetery.
Finally, the Ceremony Director nodded at me, and I approached Bill's lovely bride. I presented her with a flag that was flown over our Nation's Capitol, on behalf of Congressman Jerry Moran. Next, I gave her a Kansas State flag flown over our Capitol, on behalf of myself. Holding back tears, yet swelling with pride, I handed her the flags. As she took them, she whispered, "Thank you, Scott." She then hugged them and ever so gently kissed our nation's flag.
Last week, the Senate failed to pass a Constitutional ban on flag burning. What was once law was over-turned by the courts, under the guise of "Free Speech". Still, I ask myself: What does it say when Americans burn their flag? I hear nothing. All I see is hate and their attempts to spread anger and bitterness. Nothing is spoken or communicated.
For me, burning the flag is no more free speech than the KKK burning crosses is free speech. Both actions only spread hate and anger, and they say nothing. I was asked if I would support that Constitutional Amendment. Yes! It is our banner, and if it needs protection from the very people it represents, then so be it.
Yesterday, as I flew our flag on our Nation's birthday, I was taken back to that rainy day. I remembered how much Mrs. Bush loved that flag and all that she, Bill, and their family went through to defend it. My promise, to her and to everyone after that day, is to defend it as well.
Representative Scott Schwab