The Kneeling of a Nation

November 30, 2016

Earlier this year, starting at the beginning of September, athletes across the nation began kneeling during the national anthem in a form of peaceful protest against violence enacted against African Americans in our country.

Naturally, this sparked rage in many people across the country, voicing their concern that the country and its veterans were being disrespected by these acts. Even in Louisburg, Colin Kaepernick, who was the one to spark attention to the matter when he first knelt, has left a bit of impact in people’s lives.

“I guess it shows an alternative way to doing the National Anthem to the way we normally do it, and everyone has their own way of doing things, but I still had a pretty adverse reaction to it,” said junior, August Morey.

And with these recent events, a whole other problem is brought to light. One that I believe holds even more precedence: respect for the flag. One might say that not respecting the flag is one’s right, but at the same time, why do people have those rights? Who fights to keep that flag sacred as a symbol of your rights? Soldiers. And to me, not respecting the flag indirectly disrespects veterans.

Louisburg High School soccer coach, Kyle Conley, said, “[The announcers] at a game say please stand and honor our country before the National Anthem, so [my players] will stand. We respect the flag because of the sacrifice the soldiers go through. I’m all about protest, but I think there’s more school appropriate ways to raise awareness for your cause, such as social media.”

At the same time, one might say that sitting down or kneeling during the National Anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance isn’t disrespecting them, but rather showing protest to what America has become as a nation. A nation whose morals and code of conduct one might not agree with, but need to be abided by. You live in this nation and you live under its freedoms and with that should come a degree of respect on your part. There are men and women fighting for American lives every day and that is something that is too often overlooked.

So if you want to disrespect the flag, be that kneeling for protest or refusing to stand or stomping on the flag, understand that that is your right, but also understand that it is contemptible not only to the veterans but to everyone who has ever lost someone fighting for your right to disrespect that. Protest is wonderful, but disrespect is not. There is a time and a place to state your opinions and to fight for your beliefs, but the 2 to 3 minutes that we honor those individuals is not the time.