Kneeling for the National Anthem: Conservative Opinion

Kaitlyn Weifenbach, Reporter

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Refusing to stand for the national anthem is not only disrespectful to the flag, but also disregards the men and women of the armed forces.  The national anthem represents a way to appreciate the people fighting to protect our freedoms as U.S. citizens. The people who work everyday, risking their lives, to secure our rights to speak our minds, and protest respectfully.

While I support the message Colin Kaepernick, along with other protesters, are sending, I disagree with the way it is being delivered.  Think of the soldiers, our age as high schoolers, who gave their lives to keep our flag raised above Ft. McHenry. Francis Scott Key certainly did.
As the writer of the poem, and later the lyrics to our national anthem, “ The Star-Spangled Banner”, Francis Scott Key found his inspiration from the American flag staying raised above Ft. McHenry in the War of 1812. His purpose for writing the poem, recognizing the people defending our country, should not be dishonored by kneeling during the national anthem.

U.S. History teacher, Curt White, states his opinion on kneeling during the national anthem, “As a teacher, ultimately, I think about what the flag represents for our nation. The foundational documents and the ideals that we strive for everyday in the United States of America. I understand that U.S. Constitution is such an unbelievable document that it allows people to protest how they see fit.”

Even though they have the right to protest freely, it’s the way they are doing it that is disrespectful. When I asked Mr. White if he thought kneeling, while it might be allowed, was the respectful thing to do, he said, “If they feel that’s a good way to protest, then I support them,” however, he also said, “I would not take a knee because I think of the soldiers who defend our rights every single day. So that, to me, is very, very important.”

Varsity football player, David Creal, emphasizes his opinion on the protest by stating, “To me, it’s something that’s disrespectful to our flag, and to the people who fight for our country.” As such a controversial issue, this form of protest can cause a divide on many sports teams. Deciding between standing or kneeling during the national anthem can be an unnecessary distraction, especially before playing in a game.

Isaiah Bowen, another member of the football team, explains his opinion as well, “As a person who plays football and having the national anthem played at almost every game that I go to, I don’t particularly agree with everything that America does. I don’t kneel for the national anthem, but I do something to show that I’m not completely in support of everything America does.”  Bowen demonstrates other options, besides kneeling, that show his opinion on America’s issues from simply fisting his hand over his heart, to protesting away from the football game as a whole. By choosing not to kneel, Bowen illustrates the variety of respectful ways of voicing your beliefs.

Athletes already have enough to think about and stressing over whether or not they should kneel during the national anthem should not even be on their minds. While many of the team members may support the message, their beliefs may be misconstrued simply because they don’t feel comfortable kneeling during the national anthem.  Likewise, if only a few people on the team disagree with kneeling, they may still be forced to kneel because the rest of their team is. Such an easily misinterpreted form of protest can force people to disregard their true beliefs, due to the judgements of others. Creal reiterates his opinion by acknowledging his agreement with the reasoning behind the protest, but also disagreeing with the way American injustice is being protested,

“There are other ways to protest, but during the national anthem, that’s just disrespect.” ”

— David Creal

It’s not a matter of disagreeing with the issue Kaepernick is protesting, but the way he is protesting. When I think of all the people fighting for our country, I can’t help being disappointed in the people who kneel during the national anthem.

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