To the editor:
Over the past few years, and more so recently, I have noticed that the American flag has either disappeared or been placed in some obscure corner of several of the churches I have visited.
During World War II many churches, if not all, placed the American flag in a position of prominence within the church. Families and friends of the servicemen and women would place their loved one’s name in the church registry, a Book of Intentions, requesting the prayers be said for their safety and well-being.
After the war ended, this practice slowly ended. Even as more wars came [Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other conflicts placing our troops in danger] our flag seemed to be less important — even to include destroying it rather than protecting it for what it represents. The flag represents the American soldier who is willing to make, or has made, the ultimate sacrifice for our country so that we, the people, can enjoy our freedoms, especially our religious freedoms. Those freedoms came to us at an extremely high cost and should never be taken for granted or forgotten.
I ask that you join in my mission to return the American flag, and what it represents, to its proper place of prominence within the church. If there was ever a time to bring back the American flag and pray for our nation and our soldiers, it is now!
Lt. General Reginald A. Centracchio
Adjutant General of Rhode Island, Emeritus
Editor’s note: According to liturgical documents and Canon Law, there is no designated “proper place” for the display of flags in a church. If done, placement is left to the discretion of the pastor.