The state Assembly debated the meaning of the flag in American life on Thursday, approving a resolution to recognizing Flag Day that also revealed the fractured, raw and heartfelt views of life in the United States in 2018.

The widely anticipated moment of the debate was in the beginning, when Assemblyman Charles Barron railed against the flag for what he saw as symbolizing slavery and the oppression of people of color. He concluded his remarks by walking to the well of the chamber, bent down on one knee and raised his fist in the air.

Barron’s remarks spurred angry asides from Assembly Republicans, who issue with him using a prop at one point. But not all were offended, pointing to the First Amendment right to demonstrate, to them symbolized by the flag itself.

But the conversation, stretching into the afternoon hours, highlighted the differing views state lawmakers hold over patriotism, the symbolism of the flag itself, military service police brutality, immigration, the policies of the Trump administration and the treatment of minorities and women and divided nature of the country.

The 150-member chamber is dominated by Democrats who have more than 100 seats. But both conferences, despite their differences in size, have a diversity of views and individuals, be it retired police officers, veterans, teachers or advocates who have now gained a seat at the table.

The Assembly is a reflection of New York: rural, urban, suburban, yes, but also gay, black, Latino, conservative and liberal. And, like the rest of the country, has individuals who each see something different when they look at the flag.