As a veteran, a lot of people have asked me how I feel about NFL players taking a knee during the singing of the National Anthem. As a veteran, I wouldn’t take a knee during the National Anthem, ever. When I look at the flag, I think of the brave men and women who lost their lives in service to this great nation.
While in the Marine Corps, I had the unenviable task of carrying a flag-draped casket of a fallen Marine. I will never forget watching his mother collapse as the commanding officer handed her the folded flag and said “On behalf of the president of the United States and a grateful nation.”
To me, the flag is a powerful symbol that represents sacrifice and freedom. That’s right, freedom in its entirety. Whether anyone likes it or not, the lives lost protecting the flag and freedom means that they were also protecting every American’s freedom to protest.
I wouldn’t choose kneeling during the National Anthem as a form of protest because of what the flag means to me, personally, but I respect the right of others to do so.
Isn’t there a larger question that people should consider in this situation? Should we be offended by the fact that some of our fellow Americans are kneeling during the National Anthem or should we be more worried about the fact that some of our fellow Americans feel that the freedom the flag is supposed to represent, doesn’t represent them?
Benjamin Redmond, Durham