I previously wrote an article lauding Alejandro Villanueva for standing during the National Anthem. Then, he apologized for doing so, saying he had let down his coach and teammates. Since that time, it has come to my attention that I did not have the full story when I voiced my opinion earlier. The fact is, Villanueva was and is not disrespecting the military, military families, or Our fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines at all; quite the contrary (I will leave the fact that taxpayers fund the building of NFL stadiums and controversy around Tim Tebow as debates for another day). When Colin Kaepernick began these protest on August 14, 2016, he did not kneel, he sat. He did so again a few days later on August 26th. This was when the media began to pay attention and cover the story, except they left, arguably, the most important part of it out.
Former Green Beret and NFL long-snapper Nate Boyer wrote an open letter to Kaepernick via the Army Times, in which, he discussed his feelings toward Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the Anthem. He explained he was hurt, and felt the protest was disrespectful to veterans, but also expressed empathy for Mr. Kaepernick and his desire to shine a light on racial inequality. He then arranged to meet with Colin in order to discuss the matter more intimately.
Mr. Boyer implored that instead of sitting in protest, kneeling be substituted. He did so because, during a military funeral, the flag that drapes the coffin of the departed is folded and handed to the next of kin; this, from a kneeling fellow service member. The kneeling is meant as a sign of respect and honor. Colin Kaepernick understood, empathized in kind, and agreed to kneel as opposed to standing. I mistakenly believed he was blatantly disrespectful to Our flag due to some personal resentment he harbored. I believe many others share this false assumption.
I, for one, stand corrected and I am truly sorry for making an assumption; especially since I take pleasure in researching information (especially related to history and/or current events), but failed to do so here. While I still believe the venue (not the act of protesting) and the method is and will remain ineffective toward accomplishing the goal of racial equality at best and offensive to many at least; it is my hope and prayer that the truth in this situation is disseminated widely and that it will cause a National discussion leading to positive outcomes which will, at least, begin to peel back the root of racism in this wonderful Country. We, as humans, all long to heard and understood; that’s really what these protests are about. Compromise, compassion, and community are key to a healthy response.
May God bless America and help Her People to love one another, for that is the second greatest Commandment from the Lord, found in Matthew 22:36-40, which says:
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”