The anthem represents more than politics

Americans need to stand for the national anthem to honor our military

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The anthem represents more than politics

Victoria Wright, JagWire editor-in-chief

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My dad was in the United States Marine Corps for 10 years. While serving our country, he saw many friends sent home in caskets draped with American flags and this has impacted me immensely growing up. As the daughter of  someone who has experienced the hardships of fighting for our country, when I see people kneeling for the National Anthem, I can’t find it anything but disrespectful.

The American flag has been a symbol of our nation since 1777. It represents our fight for independence from Great Britain following years of tyranny and the freedom we continue to have today. True patriotism is shown in the courage to defy a whole government system and that patriotism continues with our military service men and women defending the flag today.

Millions of Americans have served our country and fought in wars to defend our nation. Since the Civil War, over 600,000 military members have died in combat. They died while defending yours, mine and every American’s freedom.

The national anthem has always been a time when we, as Americans, stand together to honor our country. While the anthem is being played, it doesn’t matter if you are male or female, white or black, short or tall. We are all united as one body: Americans. That united front is now being taken away by those who are kneeling. We need to be coming together as a nation, but this is causing controversy, making us more divided because people can’t decide whether it is OK to kneel or if it is disrespectful.

The first amendment protects an individual’s right to protest, but according to the U.S. Flag Codes, while the national anthem is playing, “all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart” and all those in uniform should render a salute.

The flag codes were adopted in 1923 by the National Flag Conference and we still follow them today. The codes explain aspects such as how, when and where the American flag should be displayed, which are referenced on a daily basis. So, if we follow those parts of the flag codes, why won’t we follow them in terms of the national anthem?

People, NFL players specifically, believe they are protesting the president or inequality, but that is not how it ends up being viewed. The national anthem is a moment of reverence and as American citizens, it is our duty to show respect during our anthem and to the symbol of our nation: the American flag.

If you don’t like aspects of our society, get up and  do something about it. Kneeling during the anthem is not going to change anything because these protests are either being ignored by people who don’t care or enraging those who think it’s disrespectful.

We are the home of the free because of the brave men and women who sacrifice everything. They don’t deserve anything less than the highest respect. So, don’t kneel; respect the flag and respect those that fought for it.

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