I too love our nation and our flag. I have presented a flag to a widow of a veteran. I have witnessed brave Americans dying for the flag. Patriotic and passionate Americans can love our country, the flag that represents it, and respect the sacrifice of those that made it possible, yet still understand that there are those who are not afforded the same rights, freedoms, and privileges that many enjoy.
When this nation started, only land owning white men could vote in most of America, and fully 50% of white men were not even included in the first elections, let alone recall slavery was legal. It was the same flag then with just fewer stars.
Sadly we couldn’t change that injustice just by respecting the flag, freedom, and the principles this nation was founded under. In fact, so strong was the disagreement, that one side of the country rejected the flag completely, and made their own flag, and hundreds of thousands died to correct the injustice.
Our nation is great, because it is forward thinking and self correcting, and we are willing to make great sacrifices for what is just. We have made many great changes in our nation, but sadly and rarely not without civil war and unrest, and the suffering of many Americans of all stripes and colors.
The challenge of our future is to include all Americans, not just white Americans, in the promise of America, and the flag that stands for it. Those who protest understand the strength of the message they are sending, and the desperate urgency of the cause, and those that portray them as anti-American, and attempt to reframe the debate as one of patriotism and not justice, are not respecting the flag but hiding behind it.
We should strive to be a nation where everyone wants to stand for the flag, rather than one that forces and coerces citizens to do so. Frankly, we could all kneel humbly and mourn those lost, both through service and injustice, and work towards creating a future and a nation that all Americans cherish and believe in. This is what I stand for. I understand why they kneel.