Letter to the Editor

What is the kneeling about?

Sunday, June 3, 2018

As I sat and watched various patriotic programs and movies depicting a variety of naval and land battles in World War II this past Memorial Day weekend, I couldn't help but ponder a few of the sentiments conveyed earlier in a reader's letter. This reader, in his piece "What is the kneeling about?" seemed to be trying to justify the NFL players who take a knee, rather than stand with hand over heart as is the traditional pose when the national anthem is played. I'm to understand that the players are not disrespecting the flag; no, they are calling attention to "police brutality and to protest racial inequality."

Steve Kerr of the NBA is quoted as expressing his personal views on this matter. Yes, free speech is part of what patriotism is all about. True also is the fact that many have died to protect the right to live in a democratic republic where free speech is highly valued. That being said, the bit about divisiveness in this country is certainly not a one way street. When Mr. Kerr is quoted in his belief that "people in high places are trying to divide us, divide our loyalties, and make this about the flag, as if the flag is something other than what it really is," he starts to alienate a whole bunch of brave men and women who serve/served this country in our military. My father, my uncle and I have all served in three different wars. The stars and stripes is so much more than a" representation of what we're about. It is so much more than "diversity, peaceful protest and the right of free speech." Mr. Kerr, as one of those "in high places, knows this.

As professional athletes and coaches, there are many platforms from which you can proclaim your message. Leave the flag out of it. Pick another venue. A great many of us like to stand, remove our headgear, place our hand over our heart, and reflect on the sacrifices made for every single citizen in attendance. Respect that and you'll get much more consideration for the cause you are promoting. Tradition matters.

Bill Kersting, Spencer