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Why do people feel the flag deserves the utmost respect? Furthermore, is the ascribed treatment in the U.S. Code actually indicative of respect?

To the protectors of the national ensign, the flag is a symbol that embodies everything that is America–the culture, the history, the people, the struggle, the dream, American exceptionalism, democracy, and most importantly, a beacon for liberty and justice in the world.

Ultimately, the symbol to which Americans pledge allegiance, becomes part of their identity through rigorous indoctrination–the programming. Consequently, they view the flag as an extension of the self (the pseudo-self), so a seeming attack on or disrespect toward the Stars and Bars is perceived as a personal attack.
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