Sorry, But The National Anthem Doesn’t Just Belong To The Military

Unsplash / Jake Ingle

I know this is going to upset some people. I know some might want to “show me a lesson” for the “disrespectful” words you’re about to read. But to be fair, you’re probably upset already, So I’ll just pile on a bit more disappointment.

The National Anthem, the American flag, and the Constitutional Rights don’t belong to the military. Sorry, but they don’t. They don’t belong to the army, navy, air force, marines, national guard, law enforcement agencies, or fire department workers/volunteers. As much as I respect, admire, and am thankful for all your service and time invested, they don’t belong to you… They belong to every American.

They belong to every person that was born in the United States of America – every citizen and resident of this amazing country.

The sacrifice that you have made is noble and respectful, but that doesn’t mean that you can take away the right for us to express our voices. If a football team wants to take a knee during the National Anthem, they are practicing their right to freely express themselves. A right granted by the Constitution – a constitution that you fought for. They are not burning a flag and they are not stepping on the Constitution. They are not ignoring the fact that there are countless men and women across the world representing our country, they are standing up (metaphorically) against what they don’t support – which is the statements made by the President a couple of nights ago.

Our American flag is a symbol of peace, liberty, rights, and justice – not a reminder of war and the lost lives we have had over the years. Of course, they go hand in hand – we couldn’t have one if it wasn’t for the other – but you cannot claim ownership of a flag or anthem that also belongs to me. I am as American (and Texan) as any other military agent out there. My service to my country might be a different one, but nonetheless it is my service. I work in law enforcement and respecting the Constitution is something I am constantly reminded of. So please, refrain yourself from calling me an ignorant.

Lastly, I want to make this very clear: taking a knee, staying silent, or staying inside a locker room during the National Anthem is the BEST and MOST respectful way to showcase your dissatisfaction with something. Taking other actions would only upset you all more and might even cause more harm.

I really hope you understand and change your mind. If this only upset you more and you still disagree with me, then let me finish off by “twisting the dagger.” Our flag and anthem are ours, not yours and the “club” you claim membership to. No one forced you to sign up for anything, with the exception of Vietnam veterans. If you really disagree with the peaceful actions taken by the NFL, then maybe you shouldn’t have signed up to protect the right that they are currently practicing. In other words: if they have the Constitutional Right to freely express their speech, is because you allowed them to have it (by protecting it). Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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