Representing the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, I am responding to Starshine Rochell’s uninformed and uneducated response to Colin Kaepernick’s display of dishonor to the flag and the United States of America. She obviously didn’t research the history of the anthem, the flag, and honoring the U.S. military. If she’d used Google, she could not have written this article. No one can answer her questions completely, but, as an old soldier, I will attempt it. First, her question about “when did the NFL begin French kissing the armed forces” was a totally misleading “fact” likely to be taken for truth by younger generations. It is simply wrong that these recognitions are anything new.
There is tremendous respect for our fallen non-veteran citizens — look at the Oklahoma City Memorial or the 9/11 Museum as just two examples. However, it seems quite natural that paramount recognition goes to veterans who wore the uniform when they died. Her question of “who decided” about the flag being displayed is recorded in history — declared by Woodrow Wilson in 1916 and by Congress in 1931. Being reminded, occasionally, that men and women served and continue serving to defend our freedom is appropriate. And they don’t do it for the high pay.
This is a free country. Everyone can display their dissent at any forum. But, the protest must be based on the facts of what that symbolic sit down/fist in the air/unwillingness to cross your heart during both the Pledge of Allegiance and the Viewing of the Colors means. It shows a lack of respect for your country, and your flag. Think that’s okay? Go do it. But understand that this is the only country in the world that tolerates this, and you don’t get arrested or even harassed. Winston Churchill said: “Where there is a great deal of free speech, there is always a certain amount of foolish speech.