On a recent visit to Quantico, Virginia’s military base, my boyfriend and his marine unit visited the National Marine Corps Museum. There they saw photographs, artifacts and hallways of information concerning everything United States Marine Corps.

They also saw a plaque dedicated to Cleveland’s famous Browns owner, Randy Lerner. I didn’t know this, but Lerner’s father, the famous Al Lerner, was once a marine and he set aside a fund totaling $10 million to support the growth of the museum.

Even more interesting, it was noted in the display (information not available online for reference) that Lerner pays a hefty fine for every single Browns home game for flying a USMC flag in the stadium.

Okay. ::takes a deep breath::

Marines Honored for Re Enlisting at Browns Stadium

Marines Honored for Re Enlisting at Browns Stadium

I can understand a fine for advertising cigarettes, or pornographic material. Material banned by the Federal Communications Commission.

But a fine for displaying the flag of the organization that has defended our country since its inception? This is extremely bothersome to me.

I may be conservative, I may be in favor of this war and my boyfriend may be a marine. But I think anyone with any sense of respect and dignity would find something terribly wrong with this, even if the war effort is not something they believe to be reasonable. At least I would hope so.

Here’s the USMC “core values” mantra:

Marines are held to the highest standards, ethically and morally. Respect for others is essential. Marines are expected to act responsibly in a manner befitting the title they’ve earned.

Commitment is the spirit of determination and dedication found in every Marine. It is what compels Marines to serve our country and the Corps. Every aspect of life in the Corps shows commitment, from the high standard of excellence to vigilance in training.

Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the ability to face fear and overcome it. It is the mental, moral and physical strength ingrained in every Marine. It steadies them in times of stress, carries them through every challenge and aids them in facing new and unknown confrontations.

This isn’t something we consider as Americans to be universally acceptable? This isn’t something that we as Americans strive to honor, uphold and aspire to be?

Freedom of speech apparently doesn’t apply here. It’s not like Lerner is advertising something disrespectful, illegal or distasteful. These are American men and women who have sacrificed so much to protect us… and we won’t honor them by flying their flag?

What?

I just can’t wrap my head around it.

This is beyond public relations. This is a matter of respect and honor and most importantly: freedom. Freedom to be Americans and everything that entails. Freedom of speech to fly a flag in honor of those who have served, died serving or continue to serve this country.

I’ve heard of businesses trying to ban the display of military flags, and so do some home associations. Here‘s an article about one such home association.

So here’s what I have to say: Fly that flag, Lerners. OOH-RAH.

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