Monday, June 20, 2011

Congressman Allen West Takes Heat for Scuba Diving with the American Flag

In response to the news that Congressman Allen West led veterans on a patriotic scuba dive, some claimed Representative West desecrated the American flag and in doing so violated federal law.

During his diving session Sunday, Lt. Col. West was photographed holding an American flag underwater, on top of an artificial reef -- which would be a violation of the United States Code.

Let us flip to Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8, Subsection B of the United States Code:

(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.

That's from Chapter 1 of the United States Code, also known as the United States Flag Code.

Judging from the existence of pictures of West holding a flag under water, that would seem to qualify as a violation of code.

The Flag Code constitutes federal law, although there is no penalty for breaking this law.

However, the U.S. Armed Forces routinely take the flag beneath the surface to honor in ceremony -- more specifically, reenlistment ceremonies.

As the blogger points out, context must be given. It does matter how the flag is being used when it touches water. Clearly Rep. West was honoring the flag in this instance, even underwater -- and just as the military is known for doing from time to time.

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