A couple of years ago, national anthem “protests” by professional athletes became an increasingly prevalent occurrence. With football season about to begin and also some recent occurrences disrespecting both our flag and our nation’s history over these last few weeks, I felt inclined to write a column on this subject.
Disrespect for our flag, our country, our national anthem and our treasured history really disturbs me. As citizens of this great nation, we should always stand for the United States of America. Whenever our beloved American flag is presented at an event of any kind, we should all immediately stand at attention with our right hand placed across our heart. We owe it to a nation that has given us so much. And, we owe it to all of those that have given their lives in paying the ultimate price for the countless freedoms that we enjoy as citizens of our great nation.
I remember a particular Sunday during the 2017 National Football League season when approximately 150 players either sat or knelt while our national anthem was being played before the start of their respective football games. This would not be possible in any other country on earth. And, their multi-million dollar contracts would also not be possible without the economic successes achieved through the U.S.’s economic free enterprise system.
These athletes are entitled to their own views and opinions. I could not be more in favor and supportive of everyone’s right to their own views and opinions. Our constitution guarantees us the right to express our own views and opinions. However, when it comes to being asked to honor, respect and stand united in appreciation for our great nation, there should never be any question as to what we do and how we react. There must be some other ways to protest in expressing your views. Our history, our national anthem and our flag are some of the things that bind us together and hold us steady as the great nation we have grown to be.
In America, professional athletes, celebrities and even our politicians have huge public platforms. However, I am tired having their views rammed down my throat. When I sit down to watch a sporting event, an awards show, or even a TV sitcom, I want to relax. I most definitely do not want to see a steady dialog of political views rammed down my throat. We have these people on a national stage telling us exactly how we should live, what we should believe, and even telling us that our nation is not great. Are you kidding me? Our nation has always has been great and it always will be.
There are many painful events from our nation’s past. And, we can and largely have made amends for some of those wrongs. However, we must realize that we cannot go back and change these things. As a nation, we can always learn from our past mistakes, grow together and move forward.
However, today, it seems that our beloved United States is not united. The very things that should be uniting us are being used by some in an attempt to tear our nation apart. These things are being used to divide our nation. This has to end before it is too late.
No matter which side you are on for how you feel, both our national anthem and our American flag celebrate the strength and greatness of our country. It is a sign of what unites us. A chance for us to publicly display how proud we are to be Americans.
Randy Brown is publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org