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Many Americans are showing their patriotism these days by attaching a colorful ribbon to the vehicle they own. But how many of you know where your ribbon was manufactured? Some are made in the United States, but many of these ribbons are being produced overseas in Taiwan, and I am outraged.

Maybe the government is not aware we are importing patriotism from Taiwan. Could it be the leaders of our nation are ignoring the fact that a foreign nation is making a profit off America at war?

Allow me to define my outrage further for those of you who still do not get it. Our beloved American soldiers are coming home maimed from combat; many are not coming home ever again. Why should a nation like Taiwan, which has merely voiced its support for America in her wars, be entitled to a profit off American blood?

The answer is free trade.

The loss of American jobs overseas is bad enough, but couldn't we at least impose an amendment to the Free Trade Agreement banning the importation of American flags, ribbons, etc?

In 2002, the United States imported a whopping $7.9 million worth of American flags. The Chinese contribution to these imports was $5.2 million. A communist state exporting the star spangled banner to America. Diabolical, isn't it?

Anyone remember Betsy Ross? She sewed the first American flag, and you can bet she is rolling over in her grave at the notion of the Chinese making an American flag to be used by Americans.

I hope my children are reciting the Pledge of Allegiance each morning to an American-made flag. I hope that all those red, white and blue flags I saw waving at both the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention were American-made. I hope that when the next president takes office and is sworn in, that it is done under an American-made flag.

Hope is a fragile thing indeed. We hope the wars will end and bring our sons and daughters home safely, but while they are under fire in a foreign, hostile land, I will not support the Taiwanese or Chinese governments with my money, American money, by buying a ribbon or flag in support of our soldiers.

Try to buy an American-made ribbon for your vehicle; it does make a difference to this country and our troops. If you need to buy new stars and stripes, make sure it was not crafted by some abused worker in communist China.

If you have to exercise your right, quoting freedom of speech, and feel the need to burn an American flag, could you please make sure it is a Chinese-made one?

Matthew Thompson lives in Lockport.

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