However, the “Flag-Burning Amendment,” as it is commonly known, has sparked controversy over whether it would inhibit free speech or political thought. The last attempt to adopt the amendment failed in the U.S. Senate by one vote in 2006.
Despite the absence of any legislature that protects the flag from poor treatment, a look at the laborious process of manufacturing American flags might deter most people from defiling them.
Goodwill Industries owns and operates a flag-manufacturing plant in Allapattah that, according to its website, has the highest-quality embroidery equipment in the Southeast.
The company creates and sells American flags ranging from 3-by-5 to 6-by-10 feet.
Lourdes Little, Goodwill’s vice president of marketing, said they see the flags from start to finish, noting that “we cut the stripes, embroider the star fields, package them and send them out.”
Many of the flags manufactured at Goodwill are known as “interment” flags — in other words, they are created specifically to be draped over the caskets of U.S. military veterans. Using machinery from the 1920s that Goodwill purchased from a shop in Hollywood, Fla., about five years ago, the factory produces nearly 500 interment flags every day for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Little said the plant also makes Cuban, city of Miami, state of Florida and custom flags. Goodwill’s mission is to help place people with disabilities in the workforce once their confidence and independence is developed. Of the 1,400 people given community jobs last year, Little estimated that 50 are currently working in the flag center.
“Many of the people on the line come from other countries seeking independence, so it’s very meaningful that they end up working in a place where they actually create the symbol of our independence,” Little said.
At the Miami Children’s Museum, there will be a Flag Day “drop-in” activity today at 3:30 p.m. where kids can design their own versions of the American flag. The museum’s educators hold various daily activities and planned one for the holiday to teach visitors a bit of history.
“It’s hard to get across what the flag means and what it represents,” said Danielle Newton, associate director of museum experiences. “For kids, it’s just a flag. They don’t know the meaning of the stars and stripes. So, hopefully, we give them some background and help them appreciate it.”
The activity will be held in the museum’s art studio. Participation is free with regular paid admission.
Louis Clark, a U.S. Navy veteran who taught at several Miami-Dade County elementary schools, looks at Flag Day as a meaningful act of patriotism, which “we need a little bit more of.” He said he used to hand out small American flags to mark the holiday in his classroom.
“The national anthem plays, we say the Pledge of Allegiance with our hands on our hearts, but we never appreciate the flag,” Clark said. “It is a special day. That’s the bottom line.”