Why I Stand for the National Anthem

  1. The American flag represents the United States of America. I love our country and am proud to be an American. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to stand and salute the symbol of our great nation.
  2. More than 1.1 million Americans have given their lives defending our nation and keeping it free. We fly an American flag, and not some other, because of their sacrifices. We dishonor their memory, and their next of kin who have also sacrificed, when we dishonor the flag.
  3. I come from a long line of patriotic Americans. My grandfather served in the Army under General Patton in World War II. My dad served 29 years in the Air Force and transported troops and equipment in the Vietnam War. I served 23 years in the Air Force, including a tour in Afghanistan. Those who have stood at attention in a war zone and saluted the flag-draped coffins of their brothers and sisters in arms who have given the last full measure of devotion…are usually going to continue standing up for the country and its flag. (Exhibit A: Alejandro Villanueva of the Pittsburgh Steelers)
  4. Colin Kaepernick and presumably others kneel during the National Anthem to call attention to the oppression of blacks. According to Kaepernick, “there are bodies in the street and people [police officers] getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” While 2% of black people are killed by police officers (some justified and some not, all tragic), 97% of black deaths are at the hands of other blacks. Let that sink in. If, hypothetically, 97% of any ethnic or racial group’s deaths were caused by cigarette smoking and 2% from vaccinations (some a result of malpractice), where would you devote the bulk of your protesting energy? I’d go after cigarette smoking. That doesn’t mean criminally administered vaccinations don’t matter and shouldn’t be addressed…they just make up a much, much smaller percentage of the root cause.
  5. As far as I can tell, kneeling during the National Anthem hasn’t worked. It has divided families, sports teams, and communities. Many are now boycotting the NFL. Race relations, as far as I can tell, haven’t improved. Blacks still face oppression, as do other identity groups, most recently Christians worshipping in Antioch, Tennessee. People who are racist are unlikely to have a change of heart because Mr. Kaepernick and others kneel during our National Anthem. If anything, the protests have probably made racist people even more racist.
  6. If racial problems/oppression justify kneeling for our Anthem, where does it end? There has been racial/ethnic oppression as long as there have been humans. It may get better…it may get worse…but it will NEVER end. There will always be crime and poverty and a host of other problems in our nation. If an imperfect nation is grounds for kneeling during the anthem, then every citizen from every nation should be kneeling. In fact, don’t even play the Anthem…or even have an anthem. And while you’re at it, don’t respect the symbolism of the cross because churches aren’t perfect. Don’t honor your deceased relatives’ graves because they weren’t perfect. Don’t respect ANY role models because they ALL have imperfections (except for Jesus Christ).
  7. To be clear, NFL players and others have a right to kneel during the National Anthem. Many brave men and women have fought to preserve their freedom to protest and dishonor the flag. I don’t have any issue with their “right” to do so. But I also have some rights…the right to not respect them, the right to not wear their jerseys or go to their games, and the right to blog my opinion while sitting at a Starbucks in South Texas. And employers, including NFL owners, have a right not to hire them.
  8. Rather than protest the symbol of our great nation, take action that actually addresses the problem. (To his credit, Mr. Kaepernick has done some of that.) Make friends and spend time with someone who has a different skin color than you. Volunteer in disadvantaged communities/schools to improve the lives of others, including those of different racial/ethnic backgrounds. If you’re white, spend some time with people of color and you’ll eventually witness a fraction of the discrimination/oppression they experience. If you think “cops are bad,” spend some time riding in a police patrol car to see the challenges they face in crime-ridden communities. Teach your children to evaluate others based on the content of their character, rather than the color of their skin. Let’s direct our energy at changing hearts, including our own, rather than disrespecting our country.

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Hurricane Irma Quiz for Florida Kids

A little something for Florida youngsters to complete during the storm.

  1. Sometimes we question where God is during a storm. But this question is about finding the ugly, nasty, hairy Irma storm in God’s Word. In Psalm 23 (New International Version), it’s possible to spell “Irma” six times sequentially without duplicating the same letter. All six “Irma” spellings have to be in order, although there will be letters between them. The first one is in the phrase “The Lord Is my ShepheRd, I lack nothing. He MAkes…” Can you find all six of them?


  1. The state of Florida has 3 National Football League teams, 2 Major League Baseball teams, 2 National Basketball Association teams, 2 National Hockey League teams, and 1 Major League Soccer team. That makes 10 professional sports teams in Florida. One of them is the Lightning—but we don’t want to talk about lightning right now. Of the remaining 9, 6 of them have an animal mascot. Can you name those six mascots?


  1. Why did the practice of naming hurricanes after women come to an end in 1978?
  • Unlike hurricanes, women are generally sweet, peaceful, calm human beings.
  • Meteorologists ran out of women’s names.
  • It made more sense to save women’s names for volcanoes.
  • In most regions, bad, scary wind gusts come from the men.


  1. I’m guessing hurricane preparations in South Florida are really stressful. But stress affects different people in different ways. List the members of your family in order from the coolest and calmest to the one who freaked out and has completely lost his/her mind.


  1. If your parents decided to evacuate Florida and take you to one of the following places for 2 whole weeks, which place would you choose? Explain your choice in excruciating detail to the person sitting next to you. They’ve got the time. They’re not going anywhere.
  • Narnia
  • Hogwarts
  • Who-ville
  • The Shire
  • Arendelle


  1. Suppose your parents decided to hunker down and ride out the storm in your home. They also decided you would have to eat the same meal for 7 straight days, but you get to choose a meal from the following options. Which would you choose?
  • Pizza
  • Corn dogs and tater tots
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Your favorite cereal


  1. Unscramble the following words to get 10 named hurricanes:

EDNWRA         ______________

HYRACLE         ______________

UHGO              ______________

LMAECLI          ______________

RMAI               ______________

TARNIAK         ______________

ANOND           ______________

TAIR                ______________

MWLIA          ______________

KIE                   ______________


  1. If A=1, B=2, C=3, etc., what is the total point value for the following phrases:
    • Go Away Irma
    • God is with me in the storm
    • Evacuate
    • Hunker Down
    • Be still and know that I am God
    • My brother smells like a manatee


  1. Okay, so you evacuated to some random hotel. You’re not even sure what state you’re in. Pets aren’t allowed so your dad hid the dog in a suitcase under the bed. Then you find out mom only brought one movie to watch. It better NOT be…
  • Frozen
  • Home Alone
  • Garbage Pail Kids
  • Ninja Turtles 3
  • Scooby-Doo


  1. There are plenty of not fun things about Hurricane Irma. But maybe some good will somehow come from it. Check off your 3 favorite things from this list of things that Irma may cause:
    • You get to meet and help a neighbor you never knew before.
    • You get to miss school.
    • You get to learn to operate a chainsaw.
    • Road trip!
    • You get to hang out in a closet or bathtub with your siblings.
    • You get to eat a TON of donuts and pizza and snacks and mom just doesn’t seem to care.
    • You get to learn new words/phrases like feederband, eyewall, storm surge, and “did we remember the cat?”
    • Your dad spent 2 hours in line at a gas station with the windows down and now he just sits around smiling.
    • Hotel hot tub!
    • You get to do lame Hurricane Irma quizzes!


I hope you enjoyed this little distraction from things going on outside.

If you complete the entire quiz correctly, turn it in to mom or dad after the storm is over to get a Dairy Queen Blizzard!

We love you and our prayers are with you!

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