My father would often quote 18th Century French philosopher, Voltaire’s free speech maxim: “I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to day it.”

One of the reasons I am thankful I live in these United States is because I can speak out or peacefully protest when I feel my country is in the wrong or not living up to our values.

We fly the United States and Iowa flags on our property seven to eight months out of the year. When I see those flags flying in the breeze from my kitchen window, I am reminded of the freedoms and values that are protected in our federal and state constitutions. That is why, if my neighbor chooses to spit on, step on, burn or refuses to stand and salute at a public event those flags, that act will not affect one iota my love and faith I have in the core values of my country.

Therein lies the strength of my beloved democratic republic.

Johanna Anderson, Osage

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