The news that students presumably Anglo are banned from wearing the American Flag on Cinco de Mayo because it might incite Mexican-American students is most troubling. If there is incitement it has to be due the acts of the students involved, not per se the wearing of the flag. Our military has seen the service of thousands upon thousands of Mexican-Americans, citizen and non-citizen alike, in the wars of the 20th and 21st Century this country has fought in. When at a funeral of a veteran regardless of ethnicity or whether of natural causes or from combat, the flag covering the casket, is neatly folded, stars up and then given to the next of kin. That flag regardless of the ethnic background of the vet is an American Flag.
The dispute over the wearing of the flag is probably fueled by the dismal record of our schools in teaching American History or American Government and the contributions of Mexican-Americans to that history. A majority of our high school students are completely in the dark about the history of this country much less the contributions made by Mexican-Americans or their sacrifices made in the defense of the country. A little knowledge and a little patriotism would go a long way to end some of the strife over a Cinco de Mayo celebration.
Say Can You See In Live Oak
Oh say can you see? Yes and si, but not on the 5th of May
Live Oak High School forces its students to put their American flag t-shirts away
Fears of administrators that wearing an American Flag will violence provoke
While flag-draped caskets still come home with sacrifice images to invoke
If there is a fear of violence between Latinos and Anglo Whites
That somehow wearing an American Flag will incite Latinos to fight
Then Live Oak has completely failed its job on what values to teach
Cultural pride is a great goal but not at loss of freedom of speech
If to a Latino an American Flag somehow offends and violence incites
Administration took cowards’ approach instead of banning violence backed by police force and might
The three judge panel from the 9th Circuit did want to the administrators second guess
So they took the easy way to the free speech rights of the Anglos suppress
One nation, one flag, one common language, not a nation divided into ethnic clans
Different flags, different primary-only tongues, intolerance for others totally out of hand
A concept of patriotism our educators at Oak Park to all students has failed to impart
A time for teachers and students to know of Silvis, Illinois and the location of patriots’ hearts
Second Street now Hero Street USA in Silvis is but a muddy block and one half long
22 families all Mexican immigrants called it home, where their hopes came to belong
When the U.S. needed them in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, 84 men from this short street
Donned the uniform, saluted the American flag and went off to our enemies defeat
Oak Park teachers and students should read these eight names aloud as there is no Wall
Gomez, Macias, Muños, Pompa, Solis, Frank, Joe, and Willie Sandoval
In World War II protecting our freedoms, protecting our flag, they met the ultimate fate
17 Latino Medal of Honor Winners would not believe wearing a flag they fought for would a riot instigate.
You could bring enough police onto the school grounds and you would maintain calm and peace
But teach patriotism and show the sacrifice of Anglos and Latinos to protect our flag and this talk of riots would cease.
This poet is proud of his Irish and Scot ancestors but prouder still of our Stars and Stripes
Even today in the winter of his life, the National Anthem still causes soft tears to wipe
One nation, one flag, a common language with racial, linguistic and ethnic backgrounds in healthy diverse
Time to stand up for this flag and our Bill of Rights and the ebbing of free speech to reverse.
© March 1, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet