Robert, first of all, thank you for the respectful dialogue. Of course, honor and respect are military values they beat into us, so I’m thankful for that. That being said, I don’t disagree with your sentiments at all. I think other soldiers do not have to support the NFL and the way they’ve chose to protest. I DO think (since we’re all green) veterans need to speak up against the racism we’ve seen. We can humbly let people know that kneeling is offensive to some veterans, but also the way people of color have been treated is offensive and wrong. Like I said, you’ll never find me kneeling though and you know why as a fellow vet.
The flag means something so intensely different to veterans than it does the average citizen, and I don’t expect the populace to understand that, just as I’m not a black man in America who’s experienced blatant racism. When I explained to my friend and fellow author, Clay Rivers, why I wouldn’t kneel and how much standing actually does mean to veterans, he understood and really drove a point home I think we can agree with. He said:
I think more than anything these are very important conversations that people from both/all sides need to have because it broadens and deepens our understanding. As a society, we’ve lost the ability to understand that different sides can coexist and still be right/valid.
Lots of truth there.
As a total aside, I do write a lot of the divide between veterans and civilians and what it’s doing to us coming home from battle that I think you’d enjoy and perhaps see another side of me:
The Conversation About War and Our Veterans We Refuse to Have
“You can shoot her…” the First Sergeant tells me. “Technically.”