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Letters to the Editor: Two veterans speak up in defense of flag burning as protected speech

A protester burns an American flag during a 2014 rally against police violence in Los Angeles
A protester burns an American flag during a rally against police violence in Los Angeles in 2014.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: One letter writer said the decision of the L.A. Times to publish a column on the man whose activism resulted in the Supreme Court decision making flag burning constitutionally protected speech was a “blow and slap in the face to every patriot and military veteran out there.”

Not to this patriot and veteran.

I have witnessed only one flag burning. A man, talking at the outdoor free speech platform at UCLA in 1968, protested against the Vietnam War and suddenly raised a flag and ignited it. A group of what seemed like indifferent listeners suddenly became a mob and chased the man, running for his life, off campus into Westwood Village. He escaped.

The military exists to protect us but also preserve freedom and the right of that man to express his opinion, however odious, by burning the U.S. flag or wearing symbols that offend others. This veteran and patriot is grateful that this nation grants everyone that right.

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Sidney Morrison, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I, an Army veteran, found one letter writer’s attempt to speak for me on flag burning deeply offensive.

But, the writer has a 1st Amendment right to express his views (as does the flag burner), and I applaud the L.A. Times for publishing his letter.

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Al Fels, Aliso Viejo


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