I Can’t Stand for This

Reflecting on the NFL players’ boycott of the National Anthem

Yes, I know it’s an issue that currently divides our country.
But I just can’t stand by and not speak up.
I can’t stand seeing the American flag disrespected.
It is a banner for which our soldiers, airmen and seamen
have fought risking their lives (and often paying with their blood)
in order to protect our liberties.

My dad, who proudly served our country in World War 2,
stood a little taller every time
the star-spangle banner passed by or was played.
He taught me it was much more than a tri-colored piece of cloth.
Our flag is an heirloom fabric we have inherited
that calls to mind our family history warts and all.

It is a symbol of the freedoms we have enjoyed
for nearly a quarter of a millennium.
It’s a colorful reminder that we can’t stand for anything less
than equal opportunity for anyone who voices their loyalty to it.
That grand old flag reminds us of our common commitment
to become one nation under God
while guaranteeing liberty and justice for all.

We’d best remember that what paints the breeze
is not a celebration of what is, but a promise of what can be.
When we stand to pledge allegiance to our flag
(or to sing an anthem in its honor),
we are saluting our past.
But we are also committing ourselves anew
to do our part in bringing about the dream f
or which all of us long.

All the same, those who choose to kneel when others stand
should not be maligned or denigrated as reprobates.
I respect them.
The freedom they exercise to take a stand (by kneeling)
is one of the key freedoms our flag symbolizes.

And don’t get me wrong.
I’ve been known for taking a knee
when I feel the need to protest what isn’t right in my world or in my life.
In fact, I do it all the time.
It’s called prayer.