Military veterans view the flag as a symbol of the nation, and when it is treated with contempt their anger rises.
Sunday's observance of Flag Day, which focuses special attention on the Stars and Stripes, recalls the adoption of the flag in 1777, when the war for independence had been going for a little less than a year.
Rodney Ringler, who in recent years served in the Coast Guard and now is adjutant of the American Legion's Barton-Hood Post in Abernathy, speaks of an attitude of faithfulness that's inspired by the flag.
"Across the board for veterans in general, it's always been God, family and nation, and that's where our allegiances lie, that's what we are going to be faithful to."
He said, "It's the symbol of our nation, and I don't think it just represents the United States as in U.S. Most of us veterans see it as us -- us together. We may be different backgrounds, religion and colors, but we all come together for one common good, and that's the belief."
Robert Simmons, who served in the Air Force from 1966 to 1991, and now is commander of the Disabled American Veterans in Lubbock, sees the flag as not just for the nation itself.
"The flag is a symbol to the rest of the world of what the United States represents -- the field of blue for honor, white for purity, red for the blood we shed."
He said, "It really upsets me to see people desecrate, or walk on it or stomp on it."
Ringler also objects to mistreatment of the flag.
"There's a new fad that's a few months old, where people were on the internet tromping on the flag and stuff like that. That just absolutely galls me, because it tells me that people don't understand what the flag is -- they haven't been educated properly. When they go stomping on it, they're stomping on their own image.
"It really galls a lot of veterans to see that."
The issue of whether it's alright or not alright to wear flag decorations on clothing, varies with mental attitude.
Simmons said, "The uniform of our military has the U.S. flag on it, so I can't say I don't like that being done. I don't mind it being on clothes, I have a problem with trying to make the flag their clothing. Wearing it as a piece of the garment isn't a problem, making it the entire garment is."
Ringler alludes to an aspect of comfort when the American flag is seen.
"I couldn't say it any better than a lot of other veterans, especially the World War II veterans that have gone all over the world. They were far from home. But when they come into a compound and they see that flag, it's the home they're at now. It gives you sanctuary, it gives you that peace."
Bob Bland, who served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War, elevates the flag to a place of preeminence.
"The stars and stripes that make up our national colors are very meaningful, symbolizing that which makes our nation great," he said.
"Every effort should be made to show respect for our flag."
He said, "The flag, or any part thereof, should not be worn on any article of clothing as sometimes seen in our 'pop-culture.'"
Bland added, "One should always feel a sense of pride and respect for the flag of our great nation, and perhaps also a knowing that God has blessed America."