Social media is abuzz with armchair quarterbacks on various sides of the “take a knee” issue. No matter where you stand (or kneel), I have to really wonder about the people doing all of the complaining about the issue.
If you’re a veteran or the spouse of a veteran, I’m not directing my comments toward you. You have my utmost respect for your service to our great nation.
If you are not a veteran but you have strong opinions against those who take a knee (in other words, you have been angrily blathering all over Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media), this is directed at you.
I have a question for you: Do you respect the flag and our veterans? Do you really?
You more than likely answered with a resounding, “Yes!” But let me tell you what I see.
When I go to the Corry Fest parade or the Spartansburg Fair parade–pretty much any parade–I see the majority of people sitting when the colors pass. And when I remind those within earshot that it is customary and respectful to stand when our veterans and flag pass by, I am glared at—and worse, I get flipped the bird. Rarely does anyone respond to my entreaties by standing.
Something else I see: a group of people in a living room or a bar watching a football game or the World Series and when the national anthem is sung, those ball caps stay on your heads. You stay on your bar stool or couch. Once again, there is no effort on your part to stand and respect the flag or our veterans.
Another thing I see is veterans in nursing homes or the Soldiers and Sailors Home who are pretty much forgotten. You can call the kneeling players names, but if you truly care about the veterans and our flag the way you say you do, I challenge you to get out there and try and make a real difference for them. Visit them. Listen to their stories. Thank them for their service. Veteran’s Day is November 11–send a veteran a card. Did you know they actually make Veteran’s Day cards and you can find them at almost every card retailer? Buy one. Buy ten. Mail them to all the veterans you know. Attend Veteran’s Day events and take your kids–teach them respect as well.
One last thing. For all those who have never read “US Code §176. Respect For The Flag,” here are some highlights which might help all of us show a little more respect:
(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.
(e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
(f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.
(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
Now you know. If you aren’t able to abide by the US Code or are unwilling to make a difference in the lives of veterans, then keep your opinions about those taking a knee to yourself.
This blog was published in the November 4 edition of The Corry Journal.