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Veterans' Voices: Kneeling during the National Anthem?

Veterans’ Voices is a new column directed toward veterans and their families who have given so much to ensure our freedom in this country. This is an area where you may share your experiences, or read of other veterans’ experiences. We thank you for your service, and hope that you know how much you are loved and appreciated.


When I heard and saw the first person kneeling at the National Anthem during a sport event, I was outraged. My idea is that it is wrong and unpatriotic to kneel at the National Anthem.

I believe that kneeling for our flag is an unacceptable form of protest. Our national anthem is a salute to our flag. When you kneel to one, you are disrespecting the other. I remember that I read somewhere that “We Americans don’t have a king or queen. We have a flag.” People on the other side of the political spectrum from our president should take this under consideration. You are not disrespecting POTUS when you kneel because he is not a king; you are disrespecting all the men and women who fought and gave of themselves for you to have the right to live in a free nation.

Our flag represents us, the American people, not the president nor the abusers of a certain race or ethnicity, but this nation as a whole and all the sacrifices good people have made to make it the wonderful country it is today. The road here was long and fraught with peril and ugliness as well as goodness, inventiveness, and successes, but the fact that protests such as the ones we saw in the past, could even happen here without dire consequences to the protesters is a testament to our First Amendment and our national dedication to our Bill of Rights and our Constitution.

No matter who is in power at any given time, as long as this country stands up for our Constitution, we all should give thanks to God for the blessings of this great nation and the flag that honors it. Every time I see “Old Glory” flying in the wind, I think of my five brothers I left on the battlefield 50 years ago. I think of the loss to their families including their children attempting to live without a father.

So, if somebody wants to kneel during our national anthem, move to another country and find out what happens when you kneel to their flag.

Flying an American flag at my home serves me as a reminder of these values and why any American should integrate them into their life if they live in this country.

For the past seven years, I, along with other veterans, have put up and taken down hundreds of flags at our local cemeteries and the Courthouse Park for Veterans Day, for the fallen Vveterans and other veteran activities. I have had to drape many flags on veterans’ caskets. I have had to take flags off of veterans’ caskets, fold them and present them to their next-of-kin during funerals. I have a 25-foot flagpole in my front yard and my back yard at home has a dim light shining all night long on “Old Glory.” The American flag stands for pride, sacrifice, opportunity, hope, strength, and freedom. The red in our flag symbolizes strength and valor. The white symbolizes purity and innocence, and the blue symbolizes vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

I do know that everyone has had a veteran related to them that has fought for our freedom. Give them the respect that they deserve.

Give me your thoughts at

• • •

— Royal Goodman, U.S. Army,

Vietnam / 1st Cav / 9th Infantry


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