As I was chatting away with a freelance journalist from New Zealand, less than ten feet away from us someone set fire to an American flag that was hung by one of the pro-Marine demonstrators on a sign-post for Berkeley's "Peace Wall." It burned so hot we actually felt the heat in the night air, and it destroyed several bikes that had been chained to the post. Despite an overwhelming police presence, to my knowledge, no one was arrested for the act, the danger that they caused to others or the destruction of private property.
Like many of us, I have debated flag burning in the abstract for years (I respect the freedom to burn one's own flag as much as I deeply detest the act). Never would I imgaine that I'd be right in the glow of such a despicable act.
Why despicable? Because the flag burner choses to heap his bile upon a country that protects his freedom to destroy even a most cherished symbol.