I want you to imagine this, you and your husband or wife are sitting at home when suddenly your doorbell rings and you hesitantly get up. You look out the window and see that dreadful car with four soldiers getting out, uniforms on walking to your front door, you open the door and they hand you a folded flag and they tell you the heart wrenching fact that your child the one who use to look into your eyes on Christmas Day when they were little and they believed in anything and everything has died in battle. A few days later You get ready to cast the flag over the casket and are about to bury your beloved child and you face the fact that you will never ever see them again, no grandkids, no more family vacations, no more holidays. Now imagine you are watching the football game a few sundays later and you see men sitting for the anthem. What would go through your mind? Would you be angry? Would you cry? Or would you do something about it? The terrible thing about this is it’s a reality for too many people. On September 24th and 25th, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, and Tennessee Titans at large did not stand in respect for the national anthem played before their game. Where did this begin? It all began with a man named Colin Kaepernick. He is a former 49ers quarterback who decided to sit during the national anthem at a preseason game. For the following games he decided to kneel instead of sit because of the backlash he received. This is still unacceptable.

During the national anthem at the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Chicago Bears game a man stood by himself on that field, his team abandoned him but that did not stop him from showing his respect for the flag. Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger and graduate of West Point stood with his hand over his heart and head held high for the Star Spangled Banner. Imagine what was going through Alejandro’s mind when he stood out there and looked to his left and right and saw no one by his side. It baffles me that his team wouldn’t even come out and stand by him to at least show their support for him if not the flag.

Colin said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color, To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” In response Donald Trump said, “The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!” He also said, “ If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!” Mr. President Trump was 100% right when he said that kneeling has nothing to with race because when you kneel you disrespect the country and the soldiers who have fought. I do agree that the players who choose to disrespect the anthem should be fired and should find another job or even if they hate the country so much and our president then go choose another country to live in. So for those who say #notmypresident I heard Kim Jong Un is looking for some friends and I bet you would think he’s a better president for you. So go ahead move over there and experience their life. While you’re at it go ahead and get some coffee or tea with rocket man.

Mr. Kaepernick if you aren’t going to show pride in a flag that waves red, white, and blue, if you are not going to show pride in a flag that soldiers were tortured for, and if you’re not going to show pride in a flag that men and women thank everyday then please at least find another country that meets your needs but I do not believe you will. Not only is this extremely repulsive and ignorant but it shows he has no respect for the men and women who have fought and died for our country. Think of all the men and women who can’t stand because they lost their legs, who can’t talk because they have so much trauma, or who can’t even see this disrespect because they lost their eyesight fighting.

Over Christmas break I had the honor of talking to a navy seal who lost his leg and he told me “All this complaining and disrespect for our country is tearing us apart, we thought the civil war was bad but were headed there again if we can’t get our act together and respect each other.” I also asked for his opinion on sitting for the national anthem and this was his response, “ Ma’am you see my leg right? I lost it fighting for my country, fighting for my family, fighting for you, and fighting for Mr. Kaepernick himself. You have to fight, you have to help others, and you can’t let people distract you from that. Mr. Kaepernick is just another over privileged boy who gets paid to throw a ball while some of us get paid to bleed, loose our lives, and loose loved ones.”

The more we talked I learned a lot about him and his faith. I asked him, “ When you hear the anthem and see people sitting what do you do?”  His response was inspiring he said, “ I get up from my chair if I’m sitting and I look around and if I see someone sitting I stare at them I get there attention and I take off my prosthetic leg and stand with no help no support I just stand, hand over heart and pray. I pray for that man or woman, I pray that he realizes the hurt he causes me as well as many other veterans. When the national anthem is over I go to where he is sitting and I explain that I fought and lost my leg for his freedom and I ask him if next time he would stand In respect for the men and women who have fought. If they don’t agree to stand I simply ask them to at least bow their head and pray for the soldiers who are fighting.”

This man showed me what a real man looks like, talks like, and acts like. I was so lucky to have met him and been able to talk to him.

So here’s a word to the NFL, NHL, NBA, or any other major sports league. Realize that you’re job is to throw a ball, slap shot a puck, or get a ball in a hoop, you do not have to block a bullet, shoot a human, or experience the feeling of watching a comrade be shot numerous times by a weapon you can’t get away from. You do not have to live with the trauma that our soldiers do. And for Colin if you still feel the need to disrespect our country realize that the country that you are disrespecting gave you that 12.3 million signing bonus. This country gave you the ability to throw that ball, this country gave you the option to play a game as a job, so why don’t you wake up and realize you’re not all that, your not some superstar quarterback take a walk through Arlington National Cemetery because Mr. Kaepernick that’s where you will see the real heroes, the real superstars. The real men and women who bleed red, who fight with pure white hearts, and who stand for the blue.

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Posted by Matt Andrews

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