During my twenty plus years in a United States military uniform I have served this country overseas in Vietnam,
NATO in Norway
and Kuwait. My service was performed in defense of American democracy. Military personnel serve to defend the freedoms enshrined in the constitution. I served so folks could speak truth to power under the right of free speech. America is a great country (already) largely due to our First Amendment right.
Peaceful and non-violent demonstrations addressing inequality in our country are a necessary ingredient in the continual effort to improve the democratic process. My military service is my contribution in support of those willing to address inequality in our country.
I stand (or kneel) with those who have over time to public/peaceably chosen this form of protest to raise awareness of social ills in our country. These actions are not taken lightly. The athletes involved in these demonstrations are intelligent people who are active in their communities and love The United States of America. I stand/kneel with them as together we try to improve life for all people in America.
Is kneeling during the National Anthem disrespect? Yes! Kneeling during the National Anthem is also a means to speak truth to power. This simple act of disrespect is a courageous act of free speech raising awareness of social inequality. Here are some other ways to disrespect the flag that serve no purpose what-so-ever.
Most folks know the flag is not supposed to touch the ground. But did you know:
The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use.
The flag should not be used as part of a costume
or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.
The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
The civil disobedience associated with the National Anthem and Flag is an effort to educate leaders to the needs of American citizens. I really cannot believe we are still being forced to educate our white leaders about the inequalities in our society. As a military retiree I never expected one day to hear the President assault the first amendment right of people to protest peaceably in our country. The President should be the first to affirm the First Amendment right to peaceable free speech. Free speech is really what makes America great.