By Debbie Gregory.
In 1941, the U.S. Congress passed Title 10, section 2533a of the United States Code, which would come to be known as the Berry Amendment. The law requires that the DOD cannot provide articles of food, clothing, textiles, fabrics, metals, tools and equipment to American military personnel unless the item is: “grown, reprocessed, reused, or produced in the United States.” This may come as a shock to some patriotic Americans, including Veterans, but until very recently, this did not include American flags.
The “Stars and Stripes” are the most globally recognized symbol of America and her liberty, power and strength through adversity. Every U.S. service member proudly displays the American flag on nearly all of their uniforms. And “Old Glory” is flown proudly over every military installation, on the mast of every U.S. ship, so that every member of the U.S. armed forces literally serves under the American flag. And every service member that is killed in action has their casket shrouded by the American flag, which is then ceremoniously folded and given to the family of the fallen hero.
Until the passing of the 2014 omnibus appropriations bill, most American flags flown by the U.S. military were made overseas, usually in China. Even flags that came from American companies were known to have used materials, including ink and fabric, that came from foreign markets. But now, going forward, every flag flown, or otherwise used, by our military must be 100% American made, meaning produced by Americans from materials that originated in the U.S.
The legislation was written by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-California), who is himself a Vietnam Veteran and a recipient of the Purple Heart. The law was written to be attached to the Berry Amendment, including flags as the materials needed to be made and produced in the U.S.
Similar legislation was proposed that would require that all flags purchased by the U.S. government be made in the U.S., including flags flown at government buildings. This bill failed, as it has many times before.