June 30, 2023

Senator Ricketts’ Weekly Column: Our American Flag

June 30, 2023

As we gather to celebrate the birth of our great nation on this Fourth of July, it is an opportunity to reflect upon the values and ideals that have made America the greatest country that has ever existed. For centuries, our American flag has inspired and rallied Americans through times of triumph and tragedy. It reminds us of the sacrifices made to secure our freedoms. It represents the ideals upon which our nation was founded – freedom, justice, and equality – and our perpetual quest to form a more perfect union. It stands as a reminder of the unalienable rights given to all of us by our Creator and symbolizes the hope and opportunity that continue to attract people from around the world to move here in pursuit of the American dream.

At a time when our nation feels divided on many important issues, our flag reminds us of the values that unite us as Americans. That’s why we must protect the dignity of our flag at all costs. To that end, I recently co-sponsored Senator Roger Marshall’s (R-KS) One Flag For All Act to prohibit any flag other than the American flag to be flown, draped or displayed on federal buildings. The bill does provide exemptions for Prisoner of War (POW) flags, country flags for visiting diplomats, state flags for members of Congress displaying the flag at their official office, tribal flags, military flags at military bases and installations, and any flag that represents the state, territory, county, city, or local jurisdiction in which the public building is located. We should not allow divisive political issues to be promoted at taxpayer-funded buildings, and we should ensure Old Glory the place of honor it deserves.

As a U.S. Senator, I have the great privilege of promoting our flag to all Nebraskans by participating in the time-honored tradition of requesting flags to be flown over the U.S. Capitol. This practice is a simple yet meaningful way to honor and recognize outstanding individuals, groups, and milestones. Whether it is to recognize the service of a brave woman or man in uniform, commemorate a well-earned retirement, or celebrate a milestone birthday, these flags can hold special significance to many.

Each year on holidays like Memorial Day, organizations across our state work to honor our veterans with flag tributes. Avenue of Flags is one such organization in Kearney. Started by Dorothy McCammon in 1984, Avenue of Flags has grown from a VFW Auxiliary project with 44 flags to an annual tradition including 480 veteran casket flags and 1,800 small grave flags in the Memorial Day parade of flags this year. Recently, my team presented a Capitol-flown flag to Avenue of Flags in recognition of their important work honoring the women and men who have kept us free.

I encourage Nebraskans to consider this meaningful gesture as a way to recognize the remarkable achievements and contributions of individuals and organizations within our communities. Flag requests can be made by contacting my office at 202-224-4224 or on my website at www.ricketts.senate.gov/services/.

This Independence Day, let us recommit ourselves to the ideas embodied by the American flag, remembering that it reflects the values and principles that make America so exceptional. Let us strive to be worthy of the sacrifices made by those who came before us to make our union more perfect. Working together, we can meet the challenges we face and ensure a brighter future for every American. Happy Fourth of July, Nebraska! 

Along with Senator Fischer and the rest of my colleagues in the Nebraska delegation, my team and I are here to serve you. Contact my team and I anytime by phone at 202-224-4224 or on my website at www.ricketts.senate.gov/contact. I am honored to serve our great state and will continue to work to protect the Good Life from Washington overreach.

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