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Tennessee Political Symbols

Abandon all hope ye who enter here. If you thought the Carolinas’ official military academies are sleazy, wait until you check out Tennessee’s roster of political symbols.

Rifle Barrett Model M82/M107 2016
Airplane Memphis Belle 2017
Flag Salute 1981
Flag Salute 1987
Declamation I Am Tennessee
Veterans Poem “Home To Stay” by the late Jasper N. Bailey 2014
Veterans Poem “Echoes From a Soldier’s Grave” by Sergeant First Class Ernest E. Sharp 2016
Language English Redundant Symbol 1984
Tennessee: Political Symbols (Sniper rifle: By MathKnight and Zachi Evenor – Own work based on File:Barrett-M82A1-Independence-Day-2017-Latrun-IZE-048.jpg by Zachi Evenor, CC BY 4.0, link.)

While a number of states have official flag pledges, Tennessee has two. It also has two official veterans’ poems. Those are just appetizers.

Tennessee’s state airplane is the Memphis Belle, of World War II fame. This noble symbol ranks as one of history’s greatest killing machines. U.S. Air Force flying fortresses played a starring role in some of history’s greatest de facto war crimes, including the fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany and Tokyo, Japan and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

So how is the Memphis Belle connected to Tennessee? The aircraft was named after pilot Robert K Morgan’s sweetheart, Margaret Polk, who resided in Memphis, Tennessee. There were countless charred bodies across Eurasia who would have found that story heart-warming.

Then there’s Tennessee’s official rifle, the Barrett Model M82/M107. In plain English, it’s a sniper rifle.

With an official sniper rifle and bomber, two flag salutes, two veterans poems and an Honor and Remember flag, all Tennessee lacks is an official military academy and Bible.

This begs the question: Is it more cowardly to kill people by dropping bombs on them or by shooting them from a mile away while hiding behind a tree?

Just one senator voted against adopting the sniper rifle. He was concerned about appearing to endorse the private company that manufactures it. He suggested the flintlock rifle used by Tennessee volunteers in the War of 1812 might be more appropriate.

In the meantime, this particular symbol is curiously missing from most online lists of Tennessee symbols, including this Tennessee State Government site. Even StateSymbolsUSA doesn’t list it. Are Tennesseans embarrassed by their own official rifle?

Tennessee: Political SymbolsA flying fortress soars over the ruins of Dresden, Germany. (Dresden: By Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1994-041-07 / Unknown author / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, link.)
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