Should Quilts Look Like the US Flag?

I used to believe about quilts the way Will Rogers believed about men. He never met a man he didn’t like and I thought I’d never seen a quilt I didn’t like, at least to some degree. I was wrong.

“We should make a quilt that looks like a flag.” A member of our guild mentioned one afternoon as several of us were visiting.

“Um, I’d rather we didn’t.” I tried to be diplomatic, after all if that’s what everyone else wanted to do, they’d do it, majority rules and all that. Of course, that didn’t mean I’d have to participate. Someone always sat out a group project for one reason or another.

“Why, not for goodness sake?” She asked.

“It feels disrespectful to me.” I gave her the short answer. ”

“Well, I think it’s showing respect.” She crossed her arms and sat back as though I should immediately agree with her.

I didn’t.

If the subject comes up again, and it will. After all that was just a few of us tossing ideas around, I’m sure the subject will come up at a meeting. I’ll still opt out. But this time, when they ask me why, I’ll send them to this blog.

Today,  the United States of America celebrates not only our independence from King George, but our establishment as a country..

We celebrate as a country united, a country of mixed ethnic groups, cultures, ideas and ideals. We are one country and we defend each other, even as we disagree.

Today, as we celebrate our unitedness (yes, spell check, that is a word, it’s my word) is a good time to explain why I don’t like quilts that look like flags. Why I feel it’s disrespectful.

First, you need to understand what our flag represents to me. The flag represents every US citizen, from the native-born to the immigrants, recent and past, the flag represents all of us. The flag belongs to everyone, high-ranking executives, to minimum wage hamburger slingers, and every economic, and intellectual group in-between.

The flag represents our rights.

It represents mine and my friend’s right to disagree with each other, and have a discussion about it, in public.

It represents my right to own, have ammunition for, and shoot a gun. Your right to not have a gun in your possession. It does NOT represent my right to shoot you because I disagree with you.

It represents the right of the Jews to worship in their synagogue, the Christians in their church of choice (and we have several), the atheists to not worship at all. It even represents the westboro group the right to believe the way they believe. It does NOT represent anyone’s right to disrupt another person’s life because they believe differently.

It represents my (and your) right to visit relatives and friends, or just sight-see in another state without getting anyone’s permission.

It represents my (and your) right to vote for those who will serve us in our state and federal legislature, it even represents our right to vote them out of office when their personal agenda takes precedence over our wishes.

The flag represents our Heroes. Those who serve us at home, and abroad, our police, firefighters, and military. Sometimes at the cost of their lives. The flag represents their choice to serve us, even knowing the possible cost.

The flag represents all of our rights, not just the few I listed, and those who fought, and sometimes died to protect our rights. I do not want it disrespected.

To disrespect the flag disrespects our rights and more importantly all of those who serve and served to protect those rights.

A quilt  placed on a bed, gets tangled with other covers and kicked on the floor. It is not respected and does not show respect for the original flag or those it represents.

A quilt, folded and placed on the floor for a baby to crawl on, spit-up on, and even have diaper accidents on, is not showing respect to the flag.

A quilt,  thrown over a picnic table, used as a tablecloth, and has food spilled on it, is not being showing respect.

A wall quilt made to look like a flag could be considered showing respect, except I seldom make wall quilts, and if I want to hang a flag on my wall, I’ll put the real thing.

No, I do not like flag quilts. I do not find them a sign of respect.

You, of course, are free to disagree. That’s one of the rights the flag represents. How do you feel about flag quilts? Do you enjoy making them? Share your thoughts.


5 thoughts on “Should Quilts Look Like the US Flag?

  1. Willa

    I love this country and highly doubt I would live anywhere else, but I have a different feeling about the flag although I treasure the values it represents. It is really just a piece of fabric to me and sometimes some pretty awful things were done under that flag. I think our country is still evolving and I think having the flag as a symbol we can rally around is a positive thing, but I don’t feel it sacred as some do. I do feel it is important, and necessary and a source of pride. That being said, we used to do the pledge of allegiance every day in a segregated school in town where I was not allowed to go to the same beach as the white citizens or drink out of the same water fountains. The concept of the flag arose from people who owned slaves or supported the practice of slavery. I am thrilled at the changes and advances we are making as a country. I do like the renditions of flag quilts that people make but I personally don’t enjoy working with red, white and blue as a color palate. And that has nothing to do with patriotrism, I just love loud splashes of color and batiks and also the darker or rosy victorian palette. I do not think people should intentionally defile the flag, but I don’t feel like flag quilts do that.

  2. Jenny Wilson

    Although I do not share your loyalty to the flag, I do share your loyalty to respecting others and their rights to personal choice.

    I also share your desire to appreciate our free speech and disagree openly, yet respectfully. And I definitely agree with the reasons you respect the flag, I respect them also.

    Although the flag may represent heroes and freedoms, I don’t feel a red, white and blue quilt with baby spit-up on it could detract from those. For me personally, the creativity, and hundreds of hours of work and skill of the quilt maker is what gives the quilt its true value.

    1. Oklahomaarmymom

      When my son was in the 8 th grade he started talking to the military. I made him a camp quilt with a flag at each corner and one in the middle. This quilt was with him every where. When he inlisted in his jr. year he never left home with out it. He had to leave it home when he went to boot camp and the first thing he packed when he was posted. my son was honor gard understanding in every way what the flag ment and stood for .When he returned from Iraq he slept under it not sharing with his wife on his side of the bed. When his daughter was born it went to the hospital with him to sleep under and it only took a few hours his baby was wrapped up in it. This is what a flag quilt can be the sign of every thing the home he fights for and the love of home to drive him when he is away fighting for us.


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