Sunday, June 14, 2009

Happy Flag Day

Why not to fly the flag

Dear Editor (Queens Chronicle):

This is in response to Ann Rychlenski’s letter to the editor of May 28 (“Immigrants and flags”).

Rychlenski feels that by displaying the American flag, especially on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, one shows a sign of patriotism to this country, which she feels living in is a “privilege, not a right” given to immigrants.

Well, if Rychlenski reads the Constitution of this country she will find that it is actually a “right” that we new immigrants earn when we come here to better ourselves. It is not a privilege given to us by a “bunch” of self-styled arrogant Americans who feel they are doing us immigrants a favor to let us come here, work at most times for below-minimum wages, and then face all sorts of discrimination from people who are trying at every opportunity to rip us off. Don’t throw us a few bones, Ms. Rychlenski, we don’t need them.

Most of the time we immigrants who come here are never welcomed and are told to “go back to your country,” or referred to contemptuously as “these foreigners,” or accused of being here illegally. So why should we fly the Stars and Stripes in a country that we believed in — till we got here?

General Motors, AIG, American Express, the Maddox group, numerous other companies and the individuals who work at them also flew the Stars and Stripes while they were busy ripping us all off. This great rip-off has brought us to our knees in the economic world, where, sad to say, now even some born-here Americans have to wait in lines at soup kitchens.

Just flying a flag doesn’t prove patriotism Ms. Rychlenski — working together for the betterment of this country, without discriminating, criticizing and cheating the vulnerable, is the way to go.

Days have changed. Forget Ozone Park, where I live, and Richmond Hill, where Rychlenski feels American flags are not flown, and flags of other countries sprout up. That happens when immigrant groups celebrate their national days in this most diverse of all counties in this country, whose diversity is its strength. It is a right given to us immigrants by the U.S. government, and the celebrations are attended by senior politicians of our city and state.

Discrimination is the major problem in this country, which professes to be fair to everyone but isn’t. Right from the Civil War to the wars we have undertaken unnecessarily in various parts of the world, we have filled this country’s cemeteries with unnecessary deaths under the pretext of defending our freedom, while actually ripping others off. As Pope John Paul II had said, “This savage capitalism is not good for anybody.”

So Ms. Rychlenski, while you sit and feel disgusted with us immigrants for not showing our patriotism by displaying the Stars and Stripes on celebratory days, also sit and try to figure out why this is happening.

Joseph Aranha
Ozone Park

Immigrants then and now

Dear Editor (Queens Chronicle):

In the June 4 issue was a rather vitriolic and unpatriotic letter from Joseph Aranha, from Ozone Park (“Why not to fly the flag”). His comments were in direct response to those of Ann Rychlenski, whose letter about the dearth of American flags flying in Ozone Park and Richmond Hill (“Immigrants and flags”) was in the May 28 letters column.

Mr. Aranha, you seem to be devoid of one basic point.This is America, and the only flag that must fly is the Stars and Stripes, not those of other nations.That principle is not just mine or Ann’s, that is in our Constitution — that no other flag is to fly superior to ours.

While you are right that corporate executives and armament companies have hurt us economically and sustained wars, that issue is aside from patriotism. If you feel coming to these shores to seek a better life is a “right,” then that right is earned by hard work and education,not seeking public assistance or free health care, and feeling that Memorial Day is a holiday of no importance.

My ancestors, too, came from another country. In my younger days,spent in Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park, there were many immigrant families from Ireland, Poland, Italy, Germany, Austria and Norway. But I can’t recall once ever seeing a foreign flag flying, nor the attitude that something was owed to them.

Like you, they encountered antagonism and a subliminal message of “go back.”But the difference was that they basically forsook loyalty to their former homelands and swore allegiance to their new home. That cannot be said of many of today’s immigrants. The oft-quoted statement that “diversity is our strength” has only enforced differences, instead of eliminating them.

You have written numerous letters to the Queens Chronicle and other local newspapers, in each case maligning America. No immigrant had any choice in the conditions to be met when coming here, and, while ethically wrong, resentment is to be expected. It has occurred throughout American history. You must be mature enough to comprehend that.

This is not entirely an issue of racism or discrimination. Many immigrants play a big part in this, from lack of patriotism, refusal to assimilate, learn the language or adapt to customs and traditions. It works both ways.

If you can’t learn that, then in your own words, the mentality of “go back where you came from” applies.

J. Ahearn
Howard Beach

Become an American

Dear Editor (Queens Chronicle):

This letter is in response to Mr. Aranha’s letter in the June 4 edition. Ms. Rychlenski, whose letter Mr. Aranha responded to, is a true patriot for asking that all Americans fly the U.S. Flag on Memorial Day and other patriotic holidays. In fact every day is a good day to fly the American flag.

As to Mr. Aranha’s assertion “Most of the time we immigrants who come here are never welcomed and are told to ‘go back to your country,’ or are referred to as these foreigners,’” maybe that’s because we often hear today’s immigrants refer to the land from which they fled as “my country” instead of “the old country” as immigrants of the past have done. Past immigrants embraced America for what it is, not as an evil to be changed to suit their cultural needs. Today some display an attitude that once they have made it to America they can do whatever they want, right or wrong. They need to understand that with freedom comes responsibility to the Constitution and rule of law which ensures our collective freedom.

So to Mr. Aranha and those who still give their allegiance to “my country” or “the old country”and wish to abandon American traditions and the fundamentals that have made us a great and God-blessed nation, I say be careful what you wish for. You just might get the same corruption, poverty, inequity and brutality from which you fled.

As to General Motors, AIG, American Express and the Maddox group ripping us all off, you make a very valid point. This is an excellent example of what happens when the free market concept of capitalism is circumvented with greed and political corruption so that public corporations are no longer accountable to their shareholders. However, government ownership of the means of production isn’t the answer. It hasn’t worked since Marx first postulated the concept.

If you want to show how patriotic you are towards our country — the United States — join me in the fight to preserve our traditions by voting for those politicians who consent to being governed by the governed while you fly the American flag.

Marvin R. Jeffcoat
The writer is a retired sergeant first class in the U.S. Army


Anonymous said...

Just come here legally....period.

Anonymous said...

I fly the American Flag and I am proud of it.

Anonymous said...

All I see around today are Puerto Rican flags...

Queens Crapper said...

On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.

In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings.

Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

The History of Flag Day

Anonymous said...

Why are these debates not held in the Queens weeklies?

Oh I get it. They have decided Archie and Edith don't live here anymore.

We need to talk about gay marriage.

Anonymous said...

My father came here from Ireland in 1947. The worst insult was to be called "Greenhorn." God knows how exploited he was in his time, but we were raised to respect the laws, the flags and the customs of America.

No one should abuse or insult immigrants. There is a specific injunction against this in Exodus, but at the same time, if you don't want to be in America, why did you come?

Anonymous said...

Times have changed. You can't expect an immigrant who came here at the turn of the last century to behave in the same as one from today.

Advances in technology, communication, and the rise of global capitalism have made labor a highly fluid commodity. People don't come here to settle; they want to make money and send it back to their home country, with the goal of eventually returning.

Don't you think that the Italians, Germans, and Irish would have "gone back" more often if it only cost $300 and took 5 hours. It's not that today's immigrants are different, it's that they have more opportunities to remain connected.

I'm not condoning their behavior, just offering an explanation.

Sarah said...

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible,with Liberty and Justice for all."
If you make this pledge and live by it, you are welcome in my country!

georgetheatheist said...

Jose, can you see?

Que bonita bandera es la bandera puertorriquena!

Anonymous said...

Puerto Rico is a dicey situation because technically speaking it is not a foreign country but a commonwealth of the United States.

Puerto Rican bonds enjoy tax-favored status with help from the US Treasury. American dollars circulate there and Puerto Ricans are free to commute between the Island and the US like on a subway train.

Therefore there are no "illegal aliens" from Puerto Rico.

-Joe said...

Puerto Ricans are free to commute between the Island and the US like on a subway train.
Get this:
If you go to Puerto Rico or the USVI you now need a valid passport and pay $30 a departure fee if your not from Puerto Rico.

You have have to go through customs, they rip your bags open

I know in the 80s customs took a drivers license but now it has to be a passport.

The south and western side of Puerto Rico is nicer then the USVI IMO.

Anonymous said...

The people coming to this country now are economic immigrants who don't give a shit for this country. They're here to avail themselves of the economic opportunities their own corrupt countries do not offer. They have no intention of assimilating and don't mind showing contempt for those of us who were born here.

New immigrants, put the shoe on the other foot. Think about how you interact with us--especially those of us who are femaie. The lack of respect and common courtesy is overwhelming. You curse at us and display utter disregard, while waving the flags from your native lands as if things were so wonderful there. Would I feel welcome in your land of origin if I conducted myself as you do? I think not.

Anonymous said...

If you don't like living in America, then why do you keep bringing more of your extended families here to siphon off the freebies that hardworking legal Americans have paid for with their sweat over the past 230 years???

Anonymous said...

Last Anonymous-you answered your own question. They bring their extended families to suck this country dry. We enable this rape of American taxpayers because we keep electing the same shit that does not serve our interests,.

Anonymous said...

Fly the stars and stripes whether you are proud or ashamed of some current conditions that exist in our country today.

American democracy has been and always will be a work in progress subject to many setbacks and advances over the years to come.

Our flag is the symbol of the faith we have in our country to do the right thing in spite of all odds against us.

As my proud legal Italian/American immigrant grandfather once said to me,
"It's still better here"!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the brevity this time George.

We were expecting one of your usual (yawn....yeah...yawn!) lengthy civics lessons.

Anonymous said...

There is no comparison between the immigrants who come now and those who came 100 years ago - my ancestors wanted to be Americans, this bunch wants what America can give them while creating their own little nation within a nation. I wholly agree with the person who posted the remark about the lack of respect for women. The immigrants from India, Pakistan, the middle east and of Indo-Caribbean nations treat their women like second class citizens and try the same with American women. Don't ever get into a conversation about 9/11 with one of them because you will hear all about how 1) the US attacked itself; 2) the jews were involved; or 3) the US was attacked because we have done "bad things" throughout the world. As a woman and a survivor of the 9/11 attack on NYC, they can all pack themselves and their families up and go back to whatever backwater they crawled out of - I'll even pay airfare - ONE WAY!

Anonymous said...

I am not saying anything about the flag because I serve. Some people forget the native was killed and African was enslaved to create this country. Whether anyone grandparent came here or not African slave build this nation. All those family who have old money gain that off the back of the slaves. For my people this was not other country because were treated in that manner. All immigrant benefit

Cherokeesista said...

I agree 100% with J.Ahearn:) But I'm not as polite about it:) I'm sick and tired of seeing every kind of flag flying but few American Flags:( if you don't love America enough to fly the Red,White and Blue well LEAVE GO BACK WHERE YOU COME FROM:) You are obviously not interested in the True American Dream, UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL!!! We are of every race,religion and then some!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, that said we must not forget what happened to the natives of this land, WE WILL NEVER FORGET, My ancestor are of this land and I may not always like or agree with the US Goverment BUT I LOVE THIS LAND AND MY RED,WHITE and BLUE!!!!!! We canoot change the past and yes it was a sad past but we must go on !!!!

Anonymous said...

I wish the Guyanese,Trinis, and Puerto Ricans would fly the American Flag. HAte it when they show of their flag and not the american flag as well. U are in this country u should represent it. If not, then GO Back!