Dear Tennessee Star,
I spent ten years serving this nation in uniform. My dad served four years when he was young. My son retired from the Air Force, serving honorably with multiple tours in the Middle East. I have friends who made careers serving in the military. One in particular served over thirty years earning several medals, including three purple hearts and the Bronze Star. Another friend served 28 years, and lost her husband in combat while he served in Afghanistan. Other friends served in WWII, saving the world from fascism. Some came home maimed while others buried their friends on foreign soil.
Back in the ’60’s, soldiers returned from Vietnam only to be met by protesters who berated and spat on them. While the protesters were protected by the First Amendment, their actions were deplorable. As far as I’m concerned, professional athletes who refuse to stand for our National Anthem not only disrespect our flag, they are figuratively spitting on every man and woman who served this nation in uniform.
Athletes play their sport because they’re talented. We served our country because of our principles: Duty, Honor, Country.
I’m a strong advocate for the Constitution. I’m a firm believer in our Bill of Rights. The First Amendment is just as important as every other Amendment. This Amendment protects – among other things – the right to free speech, especially if that speech is offensive. Athletes have the right to protest. But if I’m offended by them disrespecting the National Anthem, our flag, and the men and women who served in uniform, I have the right to never watch professional football again.