In response to Crystal Ward’s response (July 26) to my letter (July 17), dictionaries define a patriot as one who loves and zealously defends his or her country. That renders her statement that Colin Kaepernick and Megan Rapinoe are solid, patriotic Americans not so. Patriots do not disrespect the national anthem, nor the flag of the country they claim citizenship in, as their actions have displayed.

Ward cites a Supreme Court ruling that it is unconstitutional to make someone take part in patriotic activities offensive to their beliefs. Then stay home and don’t attend it.

If the court stipulated “forcing anyone to pledge allegiance” invades one’s rights under the First Amendment, as she alludes, then why are the court justices, persons entering the military or law-keeping agencies pledge their allegiance to this nation and the republic for which it stands?

During a military career that included combat tours in Korea and Vietnam, I pledged my allegiance at each of five enlistment periods without reservation or being required to repeat that oath.

As to the numerous statesmen she cites as having publicly expressed their views on the right to dissent, criticize and protest, none made mention of sanctioning disrespect for the flag, anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance.

And, since I stood to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I will exercise my right to continue being offended by Kaepernick’s and Rapinoe’s actions; and to add their supporters to the list.

John Davis, South Paris