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I stand for the flag because the world is a better place with America, and I believe that is worth honoring.
The NFL 2017 season has been defined by players taking a knee during the National Anthem, which has led to controversy, intense media coverage, and even social media hashtags.
These players are taking a knee to protest racially-targeted police brutality and general racial inequality in America. While their points are valid, kneeling before the anthem not only harms their message, but is insensitive to the meaning of our flag.
Over the years, America has achieved many things. In 1776, thirteen colonies signed the Declaration of Independence, declaring America free from British rule. In 1863, President Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation that eventually freed more than four million slaves. In 1920, women were granted the right to vote. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act declared segregation illegal. In 1969, the first man walked on the moon. In 2008, the American people elected the first African-American president.
Because of these accomplishments and so many more, I am going to continue standing for the flag.
I like how USA Today writer, Martin Dempsey, states it. “We do so not because we agree with everything America has done, or everything that has been done in America’s name, but because despite all of that the world is a better place because America exists.”
America has various moments that she’s not proud of, but there are many moments to be proud of.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, there are 1.3 million active-duty personnel in the U.S. military and an additional 800,000 in reserves. The military is a volunteer program. That means that 1.3 million Americans volunteered to be a part of an organization, where they risk their lives for their country. They are not denying America’s mistakes and wrongs with blind patriotism. Instead, they have chosen to defend the rights. These rights are worth honoring.
Growing up in a military town, I’ve seen firsthand the struggles that soldiers and their families endure. The military lifestyle is not for everyone. I’ve grown close with church friends, only for them to leave when their mom or dad is reassigned to another base. Recently, the cousin of a friend from high school disappeared while actively serving his country, and I watched my friend and his family honor his sacrifice and heroism.
When I see the flag, I think of my family members who have served, I think of my friends, and I think of veterans who served in World War II and subsequent wars. And I think of America’s rights and future rights. America’s wrongs can’t be fixed until we acknowledge what we’ve done well and start from there.
There are many other places and opportunities for Americans to express their displeasure, but I don’t think that we should express them during the National Anthem.
I stand for fallen soldiers. I stand for those whose risk their lives protecting mine. I stand because I am honoring the good I hope America is going to do in the future.