I was driving back to Florida from a church service in Alabama on October 15, 2017. I saw the words “Respect the Flag” flash on the billboard of First Baptist Church of Cottondale. This billboard message surprised me and caused me to ask myself three questions.
My first question was “what does the flag represent?”
According to house.gov, “The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.” I always considered the flag as an American symbol. I never thought of it as a living thing. Since “the flag represents a living country,” it should represent ALL the Americans that live in this country. Sadly, we live in a nation where we do not respect ALL Americans. However, we are asking ALL Americans to respect the flag by standing during the national anthem.
My second question was “why did Colin Kaeprnick kneel during the national anthem?”
Kaepernick made the following statements to the NFL media in an exclusive interview in 2016: “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.” So Kaepernick took a knee to use his platform in the NFL to bring attention to what many Americans were ignoring , i.e., systemic racism and violence against “black people and people of color” by law enforcement.
My final question was “should I stand for the flag?”
I’m an assistant coach for my 10 year-old daughter’s softball team. One night a player asked me why do we take a knee when someone is injured? She then asked, “is it out of respect?” I nodded yes.
Some Americans believe taking a knee during the anthem disrespects war veterans. History teaches us that American soldiers were not the only persons to die for America’s freedom. Thousands of minorities died for America’s freedom too. In the book, The Civil War, Dennis Gaffney described America as a nation once conflicted because leaders like Thomas Jefferson were trying to create a country that defended freedom while reaping “the benefits that came with the enslavement of other human beings.” The freedom we celebrate and enjoy is a result of minorities losing their freedom and sometimes their lives.
So should we stand for the flag or take a knee?
Do you want to show respect for the country and ALL Americans that live in the United States of America? Stand.
Do you want to show respect to all the minorities injured in this country in the past and present? Take a knee.
What do you think? Comment below.