by Bob Branco
Every time I go to an event where our national anthem is played, I stand up. I do this out of respect for our country and the freedoms we have. I am very proud of this country despite its problems, but I know that we have more freedoms and privileges than people have in many other countries throughout the world.
While I continue to honor the United States of America in this fashion, many other people do not. Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers is one of those people. Prior to an exhibition game, he decided not to stand up when our national anthem was playing. I understand his right not to stand, but I can also remind Mr. Kaepernick that he and many others have a lot more in common than he might think. None of us believe that this country is perfect, but I expect Kaepernick to respect our country for what it is. What he should remind himself of is that he has the freedom to play football. Make millions of dollars doing it, and to come and go as he pleases.
As we evolve into a society that seems to be moving away from educating our children in American history, I find that more and more people are doing exactly what Colin Kaepernick did. Sometimes I wonder if we should all continuously be reminded of what the United States stands for and why it was founded over 200 years ago. We should also be reminded of what our brave soldiers fought for over the years, especially during the world wars. As our national anthem says, “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” It was bravery that allowed us to keep our freedom.
Yet, despite all that, television and radio stations don’t let us hear our national anthem before sporting events. When I was a child, we heard that song before every game. Now, all we hear are commercials. This is one of the examples being set for people like Colin Kaepernick.
I’m sure that there are plenty of people who can’t wait to remind me that because of our freedoms, Colin Kaepernick can do whatever he wants to do. Yes, this is true. However, there are many aspects of life that deserve our complete respect, such as God, our parents, our teachers, and honorable songs.
About the Author
Bob Branco resides in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and is a self-published author of four books. He is a community organizer, tutors persons with visual impairments, and has written columns for local and international organizations. Bob’s web site is www.dvorkin.com/robertbranco/.
One thought on “Respecting Our National Anthem”
O! say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
This is an homage to a piece of cloth used by our government to represent itself. The stars on that cloth represent the fifty smaller governments. The red signifies valor and hardiness, and the white stripes signify innocence and purity. The traits signified by the stripes are certainly appropriate for the people of this country, but governments are not innocent, pure, or valorous. Unfortunately, they are very hardy, but that is our fault for failing to distinguish between governments and the people over which they rule.
One of the great tragedies of government is that is perverts symbols, replacing the good people over which it rules with itself in all it’s coercive authority and overbearing control of those people. This is why we used those rockets and bombs against King George in the first place. It may be that Kaepernick understands this and disrespects the government for which it stands (as I do), while footballing for the joy it brings to his fans.