Dear Sun Spots: Will you please settle a question for me? Is it against the law to burn the American flag in the U.S.? I heard from the American Legion that Congress voted on the issue and they voted and it fell short, to make it illegal by a close call. I heard that it was a Freedom of Speech act. – Jim Whalen, Auburn.

According to a June 28, 2006, article posted online at, the Senate rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban desecrating the American flag by one vote.

Senators had wanted to ban flag desecration by law rather than by constitutional amendment. That too was shot down.

According to, after June 14, 1777, when the Continental Congress adopted the flag as the nation’s symbol, it attracted little interest or public display for more than 80 years. Between 1897 and 1932, veterans and patriotic groups lobbied for stringent laws to protect the flag against what they termed ‘desecration.’

Their efforts ultimately resulted in the passage of flag-desecration laws in all 48 states, with a burst of 31 acting between 1897 and 1905 alone.

The laws outlawed attaching anything to or placing any marks on the flag; using the flag in any manner for advertising; physically or verbally ‘harming’ flags in any way, including publicly mutilating, trampling, defacing, defiling, defying or casting contempt either by word or act upon the flag. The flag was defined as meaning any object or form resembling the American flag.

The Flag Protection Act of 1989 provided penalties of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine for anyone knowingly mutilating, physically defiling, burning or trampling on the flag.

However, the Supreme Court felt this was a suppression of free expression and couldn’t justify an infringement on First Amendment rights.

You might be interested in noting that the proper way of disposing of the flag, is by burning.

The American Legion holds a standard ceremony for the proper and reverential disposal of flags that are no longer serviceable on Flag Day, June 14, every year.

When held at night, as noted in a previous Sun Spots column, it is in the presence of a full honor guard and officiated by the post commander, sergeant of arms and chaplain.

Dear Sun Spots: I would like to give away a 46-inch RCA Projection TV to a local school or nonprofit organization. It was “state of the art” when I purchased it new.

The model number is P46151WK with a manufacturing date of March 1993. The remote and owner’s manual will go with it. It is in need of repair. It may only need a talented technician and minor parts, but may possibly be too old or costly to get parts for.

It is perhaps a good project for a trade school. It has a nice solid wood cabinet which might be converted to some other use if the TV is not repairable. First come first serve. You must arrange for moving and transport. It is heavy! Call 783-7189 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. – N. No Town.

MJB of Lewiston: Please rewrite your inquiry about a female cockatiel, making sure to include a contact phone number or address for readers to respond to you. There is not enough information currently, to post this in the column.

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