“Men do not fight for flag or country, for the Marine Corps or glory or any other abstraction. They fight for one another. And if you came through this ordeal, you would age with dignity. – William Manchester
I chose this quote in response to the RSA’s submission against changing the New Zealand flag.
The RSA argues we should ask the second question first so if the majority say no there’s no need for a second referendum.
The problem with that is that we wouldn’t know what the alternative would be and that will influence many people’s decision on whether or not they want change.
One argument against change used by the RSA, and others, is that the flag is the one soldiers fought under and it would be disrespectful to them to change it.
That is very much a matter of opinion.
New Zealanders fought under that flag. But they did that because it was the flag at the time, it doesn’t necessarily mean they had such a strong attachment to it that it would be dishonouring them if it was changed.
Like Manchester I think the armed services went to war for far more than the flag.
One rallying cry was for king and country . Those kings are long dead.
The RSA says it’s particularly disrespectful to be raising the question when we’re commemorating the centenary of Gallipoli.
But given the tragedy that was and the part played by British officers in what was in many ways a debacle, you could mount an even stronger argument that it would be respecting them to have a flag which didn’t carry the Union Jack.
You could also argue that a flag with a silver fern would be honouring them because that is the symbol on the graves of those who died .
My father was one of those who fought under the New Zealand flag although he’d only been out from Scotland a very few years.
He’s no longer here to ask his view on the issue but I can never recall him expressing any emotion about the flag.
He did however have strong views on independence and freedom . It was those for which he fought, not a flag.