USA: “Taking a knee” [kneeling during anthem rendition] is not disrespectful to veterans – a US Vet

October 9, 2017

Sports, USA


Wait. Maybe I did.

In reading about the Trump words and tweets about people taking a knee at a time and in a way that displeases him, and how these SOB’s should be fired on the spot, I have come across numerous comments about how silently taking a knee at a time of salute to the flag is somehow especially insulting to our Veterans.

As a Veteran, I disagree.


Colin Kaepernick, former Quarterback of the San Francisco [American Football] “taking the knee” in a TIME MAGAZINE COVER. [Google Images]


NOTE: Kaepernick no longer quarterbacks the 49ers nor does he have any job since he had to leave San Francisco.

First. The American Flag is a symbol of our nation, of our whole country. It is not only, or even primarily, a symbol of our military service members, past and present. When we think of our nation, of our whole country, the work and sacrifice of the armed forces are a part of our nation’s history. But only a part.


If the connection is made between the flag on one hand, and my parents, grandfather, g’grandfather, and g’g’g’g’g’father – all of whom served under an American flag of some sort in wars going back at least to 1777, then their military service (and that of various other uncles and other relatives of my generation and the next) can be part of what I think of when I think of the flag. But only if I set my mind in that direction.

The flag also stands for ideals not yet attained, “promisory notes” and  commitments not yet kept, “liberty and justice for all,” “the proposition that all are created equal,” “a new birth of freedom.” It stands for a Constitution that trusts no one person with power; that included oversight and review, check and balance in its design (we’re not doing so well at that at the moment); that includes commitments to rights—the right to vote, speak, assemble, freedom of conscience—including rights for citizens and limitations on the work of police and surveillance and courts, etc.  I pledge that this is what my country is to be. It isn’t there yet.

The flag reminds me of a nation of immigrants, of vast differences in landscapes and occupations, of the varieties of languages even of my own ancestors, to say nothing of my neighbors and theirs. The flag reminds me of America—“tired, poor, yearning to breathe free,” “a lamp beside a golden door,” “brotherhood from sea to shining sea,” “mountains, prairies, oceans white with foam”—and a whole mixture of emotions. Not all of them tied up with military service. The flag is more than that.

But there is something else that it has occurred to me, when people say that they “didn’t serve time in uniform, so that people could make a gesture of protest in regard to the American flag.”

I engaged in protests, even when I was in uniform.

(Well, not while I was actually WEARING the uniform.)  But while I was an enlisted man in the U.S. Navy – during the Nixon administration – my wife and I went to anti-war protests in D.C.

Now.  I was somewhat insulated. I spent 3 1/2 years of military service as a Hospital Corpsman at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland. Never left the states. Never set foot on a ship. Left as an E-5 to go back to college and never looked back.

But while I was serving in Bethesda, Maryland, I could exercise my freedom of speech, even on the steps of the U.S. Capitol (10 miles away). On May 3, 1972 [I looked it up],  my wife and I went to an anti-war rally on the Capitol steps. Judy Collins sang. Chuck Colson organized a counter-rally. It made it into the reports of the “White House Horrors” of the time.  We just listened to speeches and to Judy Collins.

So now, 45 years later, when people talk about NFL players taking a stand, and get all “I didn’t serve my country so that those SOB’s could take a stand that I disagree with” . . . my answer is,

“Yes, that’s PRECISELY what I want my service to this country to mean.”

They kneel / stand / march / speak — as Americans — to make this country more of what it should be. That’s the freedom I wanted, and took advantage of, for myself.

[LATEST: Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, seems determined like his boss to keep a matter that was gradually dying out, alive by walking out of an American football match this past weekend.
To call attention to it, the Twitt-meister himself, the President of the United States, already notified the world. Pence would twit about his PATRIOTIC action. TOLA.]
Players “taking a knee” rather than stand with hands on chest during the rendering of The Stars and Stripes.
Twitt-meister at work

I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLadyKaren.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2017. 3:09 P.M. [GMT]
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