Musings, Thoughts & Commentaries
To stand for the flag or not to stand, that is the question.
I am a West Point graduate, combat wounded veteran, my wife is an American citizen of Philippine ethnicity. She was offended, as an American, that a citizen would intentionally insult the nation by kneeling when the national anthem is played—pointing out that in the Philippines kneeling would not be tolerated when their national anthem is played.
I was offended when that guy kneeled last year. It was an insult to our nation, to all who served their nation, to his team and to himself.
What was his issue? I guess to say that blacks and whites should be treated equally. I agree with him, but not his method of protest. He is famous, he could make his case other ways, media—write a book. But he insulted ALL Americans, black or white, by using the flag and anthem as his symbol.
I returned from Viet Nam and worked with Firestone in Akron, Ohio, and was sitting with senior executives at lunch when the Kent State riots occurred. The Ohio National Guard was called out; students were shot as they protested. I was asked, “As a combat vet, aren’t you insulted by those students rioting?” I answered, “I do not agree with their opinions, but I fought for their right to express them.”
By his statements, President Trump has changed the issues being debated. The issue of whether you are a member of the nation been replaced by whether whites and blacks should be treated equally.
Thus I will stand for the anthem and salute the flag, but will not be disparaged by those who kneel, because they have the right to their opinion, as long as they are not declaring to be enemies of the nation. Those who kneel must accept the consequences. They may be perceived as opposing the nation and in so doing hurt their own cause.
The only issue at hand when the anthem is played and the flag is saluted is to ask: Are you a member of this nation? No nation is perfect and issues of difference are to be expected in a democracy and are to be discussed and debated.
There is a better place for the debate than when the flag is saluted.
Tom Anthony is a West Point Graduate and combat veteran who spent his professional civilian career in global business all over the world. He has lived and worked in Austria, Italy, Spain, England, Iraq, Israel, and throughout Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Anthony also lived in Mindanao for seven years.
Copyright 2017 Tom Anthony.