Letters to the Editor Opinion

Letter to the editor: Kaepernick denigrates the flag

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What it truly means to be an American is to respect the history of those who have come before us and created this great society we live in. Truly being an American is recognizing that people have given up their lives carrying and wearing the flag into battle.

Our soldiers go and die serving the country and they come home with that flag over their casket. Black, white, it doesn’t matter. The flag represents them all. Having a sense of reverence at least because of that fact is something every American can do.

Being patriotic and respecting what the flag stands for doesn’t mean that you are blind to some of the issues we face as a nation, but the American flag is older than any of us, and it does not represent any of the negative things that the writer discusses here.

It is clearly Colin Kaepernick’s right to protest as he sees fit, although I see it as inappropriate to sit and write about how he is helping people realize what it means to be an American. He is not. If Kaepernick is your definition of an American hero, I only hope that you have the opportunity to meet some of the people in our military or the everyday Americans who save lives every day.

Real heroes.

Maybe you could read about the history of our nation and some of the great sacrifices people have made to advance their just causes. Martin Luther King Jr., who is even quoted in the original piece, was an American hero, but he didn’t step on America and belittle it in order to advance his cause. He spoke of a dream to make it better.

No, our Founding Fathers would not be proud of Kaepernick. Absolutely not. What they did was stand up and take real action that created change. They didn’t just sign the Declaration of Independence, they pledged their lives for it.

Battles were fought and won and new institutions were founded. There is a difference between Kaepernick grandstanding and true heroism. It is sad that the writer here does not see the difference.

I believe in an America that grows and changes to become better. We can discuss our issues and work to fix our problems, but we should not do ourselves the disservice of forgetting that the history of America is one of great triumph for human and civil rights.

The flag represents all of those triumphs, and it reminds us of those no longer here who worked to make our lives and our successes possible. It is a representation of spirit that will continue long after any of us exist and it is larger than any one issue.

I will end with a quote from Justice Anthony Kennedy from years ago. It applies here.

“Though symbols often are what we ourselves make of them, the flag is constant in expressing beliefs Americans share, beliefs in law and peace and that freedom which sustains the human spirit. The case here today forces recognition of the costs to which those beliefs commit us. It is poignant but fundamental that the flag protects those who hold it in contempt.”

Connor Jones is a supply chain senior. To submit a guest column, please contact [email protected].

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