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Stars-And-Stripes Fashion Trend Draws Mixed Response From Veterans

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Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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(CBS) – Clothing adorned with the Stars and Stripes is all the rage these days – but not everyone is ready to salute the fashion trend.

At the VFW in Bridgeview the American flag is sacred and Vietnam veterans like Ralph Minnich say there’s only one way to display it.

“You fly it high. You’re proud of it,” he tells CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker.

Flag fashion – as displayed recently as Americans cheered Team USA in the World Cup —  is not his definition of pride.

“You don’t belittle it. You don’t put it on your butt. You don’t sit on it. You don’t do that,” he says.

For veterans like Minnich, wearing flags for fashion is unsettling. But those who buy it at stores like American Apparel argue it promotes patriotism.

Carlos Alarcon remembers the anti-war era of the late-1960s and early-1970s and thinks today’s flag fashion is preferable to attitudes displayed then.

“They were burning the flag in the street, walking on it, stepping on it,” the Vietnam veteran says. “Now, they’re wearing it with a sense of pride.”

Another veteran, Michael Daley, agrees.

“That’s not a flag. It’s a replica,” he says.

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