As in previous years, veterans will play a pivotal role in defeating this amendment. During earlier flag amendment battles, thousands of veterans wrote their Members of Congress to dispel the myth that veterans speak with one voice about the proposed amendment. Gary May, a highly decorated former Marine who lost both of his legs during combat in Vietnam, spoke for many of his fellow veterans in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee:
"Freedom is what makes the United States of America strong and great -- it is what has kept our democracy strong for more than 200 years," said May, who serves as the Chairman of Veterans Defending the Bill of Rights, a coalition of veterans who oppose the proposed flag amendment. "The pride and honor veterans like me feel is not in the flag itself, but in the principles the flag stands for and in the people who have defended them."
Another prominent veteran, Secretary of State Colin Powell, also opposed the amendment. "The First Amendment exists to insure that freedom of speech and expression applies not just to that with which we agree or disagree, but also that which we find outrageous," said Powell. "I would not amend that great shield of democracy to hammer a few miscreants. The flag will be flying proudly long after they have slunk away."
The flag amendment supporters will not go away quietly, and defenders of the First Amendment -- particularly veterans -- must speak out to protect free speech rights. From our Web site, you can tell your members of Congress to defend the First Amendment and express your opposition to the proposed amendment. You can also learn about additional ways to fight for the flag, including downloading our free animated "Fights for the Flag" GIF for use on your personal website. Most importantly, you can add your name to the roster of Veterans Defending the Bill of Rights, thereby joining the ranks of veterans who oppose making exceptions to the First Amendment.
To learn more about Veterans Defending the Bill of Rights, visit their website at www.veteransdefending.org . Finally, if you know of other veterans who share your view about the importance of protecting free speech and the First Amendment, please urge them to visit this site and to step forward to protect the Constitution!