A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 06, 2013
“If you must burn our flag, please wrap yourself in it first”

"If you must burn our flag, please wrap yourself in it first” is a saying that has been printed on many gift items, such as bumper stickers and posters. The saying was a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Texas v. Johnson, holding that burning a flag is a legal First Amendment-protected expression of speech.

Comedian Jay Leno said in July 1989, “I see why the president is calling for an amendment. I guess if you’re going to wrap yourself up in the flag, you don’t want anyone burning it.” “If you want to burn the U.S. flag, please wrap yourself in it first” was on a sign in November 1989. “If you must burn our flag, wrap yourself in it” was on a bumper sticker in June 1990.


Wikipedia: Texas v. Johnson
Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989), was an important decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that invalidated prohibitions on desecrating the American flag enforced in 48 of the 50 states. Justice William Brennan wrote for a five-justice majority in holding that the defendant Gregory Lee Johnson’s act of flag burning was protected speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Johnson was represented by attorneys David D. Cole and William Kunstler.

11 July 1989, Hutchinson (KS) News, “The flag is the last refuge of a cheap politician” by Sydney H, Schanberg (Newsday), pg. 2, col. 3:
Leno (Comedian Jay Leno—ed.) said: “I see why the president is calling for an amendment. I guess if you’re going to wrap yourself up in the flag, you don’t want anyone burning it.”

3 November 1989, Chicago (IL) Sun-Times, “Flag burning isn’t Page 1 news,” pg. 38:
It said, “If you want to burn the U.S. flag, please wrap yourself in it first.”

5 June 1990, Aiken (SC) Standard, “There Must Be A Relative Reference” by Ashley Cooper, pg. 4, col. 5:
Alex Thien reports this bumper sticker: “If you must burn our flag, wrap yourself in it.”

23 January 1991, Chicago (IL) Sun-Times, Workers march to support GIs, burn Iraqi flag” by Tom Seibel, pg. 9
Signs—with messages such as “Local 150 says if you feel you must burn our flag wrap yourself in it first. Bombs Away”—might have discouraged any war protesters.

19 February 1991, Augusta (GA) Chronicle, “Senate,” pg. 2B, col. 2:
Sen. Don White, R-Suwannee, a Vietnam combat veteran, said flag burners carry the idea of freedom of expression too far.

“I don’t mind if you burn the flag, as long as you soak it in gasoline and wrap yourself in it,” he said.

Google Books
The Dark Side of Liberalism:
Unchaining the Truth

By Phil Kent
Augusta, GA: Harbor House; Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Distributed to the Book trade by National Book Network
2003
Pg. 81
(My favorite sign, incidentally, was displayed on TV at a patriotic counter- demonstration: “If You Are Going To Burn Our Flag, Wrap Yourself In It!")

19 January 2003, Washington (DC) Times, “Protesters are met with war’s supporters”:
The counterdemonstrators waved American flags and signs, some of which read “If you must burn our flag, wrap yourself in it first” ...

14 June 2003, Great Falls (MT) Tribune, “The Edge,” pg. A4:
Bumper sticker of the week: “If you must burn our flag Please wrap yourself in it first.” Seen on a maroon pick-up truck on 10th Avenue South.

Google Books
How to Win a Fight with a Liberal
By Daniel Kurtzman
Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Hysteria
2007
Pg. 9:
If You’re Gonna Burn Our Flag, Wrap Yourself in It First

Google Books
First You Try Everything
By Jane McCafferty
New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers
2012
Pg. ?:
The car in front of them, an SUV, sported a bumper sticker: IF YOU BURN THE FLAG, MAKE SURE TO WRAP YOURSELF IN IT FIRST.

The Washington Free Beacon (Washington, DC)
I Survived the World’s Longest Press Conference
Feature: A reporter helps make history

BY:  Bill McMorris
June 22, 2013 5:00 am
JUNE 19, 2013
Rep. Steve King (R., Iowa) steps up to the microphone surrounded by like-minded lawmakers and “Abolish the IRS” signs. He clears his throat.
(...)
Rep. Randy Weber (R., Texas) plays to the crowd, slipping “don’t mess with Texas—or our gun rights” into his opening remarks.

He’s also funny. “We finally have a president who listens to all Americans,” he says, referencing the NSA. And “if you’re going to burn an American flag, I only ask that you wrap yourself in it first.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Saturday, July 06, 2013 • Permalink