Let the Flag Reflect Freedom and Honor
“It is my understanding that the American Flag can be flown half mast in times following the death of fallen troops, certain government officials, or in times of national distress, or on various holidays, and at any other time a government official such as the President, or a Governor, decrees such a thing.”
Well here it is the day before Whitney Houston’s funeral, and I hear all this hoopla about whether or not the Governor, Chris Christy of New Jersey should or should not lower the flags half mast Saturday in a show or Grief, Honor and Tribute to Whitney Houston. Personally, I feel he should do just that. I read the rules a friend of mine friend sent me concerning how and why the American Flag should be raised or lowered half mast (or staff), and if anyone deserves to be honored in such a way that says said person has served their country well, Whitney Houston surely deserves it!
I did a little research and found some pretty interesting things that chronicles the many humanitarian and charitable acts that Whitney Houston quietly contributed to in this country, to suffering children and firefighters, etc. You’ll also find it interesting to know that, when a failing budget didn’t permit the further movie production of the 2011 (yet to be released) re-make of “Sparkle” to continue filming, Houston dug deep into her own pockets and funded $2,000,000 dollars to finish the project.
Sure Whitney Houston may have had a drug and alcohol problem, so did Elvis Presley, so did Jimi Hendrix, so did Janice Joplin; and so did (and maybe still does) folks like Rush Limbaugh. For that matter, so do many of us! And if you want to talk about serving our country, and dealing with an addiction at the same time using drugs and alcohol to numb the pain, well didn’t many of our countless troops who came home from Cambodia, Vietnam hooked on Marijuana, Heroin and Opium do just that? A great many soldiers who served came home with additions so tough that they kept the rehab and Methadone clinics (here in southeastern Michigan) quiet busy once a good many of them got back from overseas after the war was over in 1975. How do I know? My dad administrated three Methadone state run clinics in Detroit.
Still, when a drugged out soldier was killed out in the field in Vietnam and sent back home for burial, it didn’t matter if his bullet ravaged body was rank with cheap South Asian liquor and beer, or that his body was full of heroin or smack and weed. The flags flew half mast just the same! He gave his life for his country. And as a result, the flags always flew half staff! and the coffin was always covered in red white and blue in honor of the fallen solider inside, regardless of his level of addiction, his former domestic abuse problems or mental disabilities. I feel that working in service of your country (not being a big time movie and singing star) outside of the military deserves close to somewhat the same honor (if a government official such as a Governor or a Mayor, etc decrees such).
We Americans raise our hands to our hearts and salute the flag just like any other American here and abroad. It is just my personal opinion that those who give of themselves selflessly for the betterment of humanity as Americans, fighting poverty, hunger, abuse and supporting education are soldiers as well! What difference does it make how you save a life, just as long as you save one. Sure military soldiers have to often times take lives in order to save lives, but does that make them the only heroes humanity has to offer for truth Justice and the American way? Not to take anything away from our sterling War Veterans and Heroes in all branches of our armed forces. They are just that and much more… Heroes in the highest degree!
I feel that there should be some kind of state or federal honor set aside for those who have served their fellow man so well on a different kind of battle field. The one where we live, right here in America! I feel that the flag should fly for those civilians who fight and give so quietly, and oh so selflessly for freedom beyond the call of duty. Right here in these United States! Think of it; Whitney did all the while dealing with her own personal issues and demons! Being where Whiney Houston was in heart and mind had to be a lonely place. Just like her song says, “Where do Broken Hearts Go?” Who could “she” run too? When you talk about serving your country, I think being the first person to sing the National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner) so passionately, at a football game that all of America embraced it so lovingly, and patriotically that it was released as a single.
After Whitney released her version of the Star Spangled Banner song as a major recording, she in turn donated all the proceeds from that record to the Red Cross! Then again, after 911, Whitney re-released that same recording of “The Star Spangled Banner” (now the “charity single” as it was then called) to benefit the New York Firefighters Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Fraternal Order of Police Fund and raised more than $1 million. Her efforts (most not even mentioned here in this article) were and are acts that have gone unsung, and her personal life judged way too harshly (thanks to a decisive reality television show, and an over zealous paparazzi). Even with a voice handed down from God above, Whitney Houston was still just like you and me… just pain ole’ human! So lets honor Whitney (Nippy) Houston and make her going home just as good for her and her family as she made the going home and recuperation process for countless other families out there who benefited from her quiet generous donations and charities and personal acts of kindness. Rest in Peace dear heart!
Glenn Peppers Feb 17, 2012