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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5 thoughts on “Why I Stand for the National Anthem”

  1. I fully agree with you and your reasoning. There is so much attention placed on the NFL situation while the Antioch congregation was assaulted and ignored. I feel that those service members returning from foreign lands with a flag draped across their coffin deserve better. The flag flies across our nation because of the sacrifices made and not the Union Jack or the Swastika. We play the “Star Spangled Banner” and not “God Save the Queen” for the very same reason. Standing for another’s anthem and not your own is a flagrant act of disrespect toward your country. One cannot separate protesting the anthem and flag without disrespecting the fallen heroes who died so the flag may fly and the anthem play.

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