I looked on in sadness to watch the American Women’s Soccer Team take the field in the World Cup semi-finals in Paris. The sadness came as the “Star Spangled Banner” played and U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe knelt, refusing to stand to honor our country. I shook my head, once again questioning what is going on in the minds of those who are choosing this one place, this one instance, in which to display their angst for whatever while living in the greatest country on Earth.
For professional athletes (and also for innumerable amateur athletes) former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the “trend” of athletes kneeling during the National Anthem. What could possibly be the impetus for doing so? Rather than dismissing those who participate in this as being deranged or simply disrespectful, I began to look for real answers. I for one could NEVER do or say anything negative during or about the playing or singing of the Anthem before any event. To me it has always been a moment of honor for the Nation, but, more importantly, honor and respect for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who fought to give us the freedom to say anything — even things that others do not accept. Why would Rapinoe and Kaepernick feel no sense of patriotism and gratitude for all their success that came as a direct result of the things that the “Star Spangled Banner” represents? I struggled for that answer. And then it hit me.
There are two American generations that have never personally seen War of any kind. Oh, there have been wars and skirmishes in the last couple of decades. But there’s been no wars such as World War II, the Korean conflict, or Vietnam. To those in these two generations, war exists only in movies that — as far as they are concerned — are fictional representations of some mythical events that may or may not have actually happened. And certainly, those types of things could never happen today — not in THIS America.
Operation Desert Shield began in 1990 under President H.W. Bush, Desert Storm one year later. The invasion of Iraq did not happen until 2003 under President George W. Bush. For a person to have a real firsthand understanding of Desert Shield/Desert Storm, that person would have had to be born before 1980. That eliminates a large number of those counted from two generations. For a person to have a real firsthand understanding of the Bush 43 invasion of Iraq, that person would have had to be born before 1995. The only Americans who were old enough to have real memories and understanding of both of the last two wars in which the United States was a major participant would have to be 39-40 years old or older today.
Let’s be honest: much has changed in how history is being viewed in America today — and especially by those 24 to 40 year-old Americans. Educators have changed American History that they taught to the last two generations of our American children. We see the results of that every day: historical statues being systematically removed because of “bad” memories they represent; Institutions of all kinds are changing their names, removing the names of U.S. founding fathers because of their being involved in slavery, even changing street names.
In our schools, Capitalism, the Rule of Law, equal justice under the law, a democratic Republic and many of the tenets from the U.S. Constitution itself are not simply being removed from classrooms, they are being attacked by our educators as being evil.
As we saw this very week, the United States flag is under constant attack itself. NIKE — for political purposes — was “forced” to recall a new shoe that bore the image of the “Betsy Ross” flag because Colin Kaepernick notified NIKE that flag was a symbol of slavery and was offensive to many. The Betsy Ross flag represents slavery — really?
Do you know what these Millennials and Generation X-ers don’t get? None of these actions would be tolerated in almost every other country on Earth. Socialist and Communist countries’ governments would jail if not execute citizens who denigrated their government, its flag, or its leaders. But what is most amazing is to watch and listen to members of the American government who themselves are immigrants that came to the United States to flee the tyranny of the governments of their native nations. They came HERE because of the freedoms we have that are bestowed equally by law to every person on our shores. Yet they attack the very institution that gave us all the freedoms and liberties they came here for. And in doing so they cry for the SAME THINGS IN AMERICA FROM WHICH THEY FLED!
Freedom is not free. It’s not free to obtain, and it’s certainly not free to keep. Often there are brutal prices paid by many for both. Someone’s required to pay that price.
I wonder if Megan Rapinoe and Colin Kaepernick would continue to kneel in their rejection of what the U.S. flag stands for if they had watched a flag-draped coffin of their own brother, sister, aunt, uncle, father or mother came home from a war in which their relative had volunteered to fight so that Megan and Colin and every other American could have the right to kneel at a football or soccer game when the “Star Bangled Banner” was being played?
John Quincy Adams, one of the youngest of the founding Fathers and later 6th President of United States, was invited as keynote speaker at a large patriotic celebration in Newburyport, MA on July 4, 1837 (61st Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence). Adams was personally involved in the founding of our nation. Here is part of his speech:
“Why is it that next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day [on the Fourth of July?] Is it not that in the chain of human events, the birthday of a nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?”
According to John Quincy Adams, on the 4th of July, 1776, the Founding Fathers had taken the principles that came into the world through the birth of Christ and used those principles to birth the nation, thus joining Christian principles and civil government in what he called an “indissoluble bond.”
Adams was also known as “the Hellhound of Slavery,” because of his lifelong fight against slavery. He is the only president to serve in Congress after his presidency. He spent those years fighting for the freedom of all slaves. He never saw the freedom he fought for occur, but his efforts had profound effects on the future.
One of the pallbearers at his funeral was a young man name Abraham Lincoln.
With all of these thoughts in mind, watch and listen to this presentation of a really simple concept:
HAVE A GREAT INDEPENDENCE DAY!