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An Open Letter from Veterans in Support of Kneeling....

Posted by on Sep. 25, 2017 at 8:03 AM
  • 15 Replies
1 mom liked this

In 1947, former Army officer Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Robinson experienced taunts, epithets, and threats of violence for simply standing up to the status quo of segregation in America.

Since 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick engaged in a silent protest to bring attention to the state of emergency facing people of color in America, a chorus of detractors have lined up to denounce his stand, or more accurately his sit. Fans have burned his jersey. A presidential candidate suggested he leave the country. Many have claimed his protest disrespected American veterans.

Jackie Robinson isn’t here today to tell us what he would think of Kaepernick’s protest. But he did convey the same sentiment about the national anthem as Kaepernick in his 1972 autobiography, writing, “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.”

As military veterans, we write to express our support for the tradition of advocacy by athletes that is embodied by Jackie Robinson and carried on by Colin Kaepernick.

For generations, American athletes have used their public voice to force our collective attention towards the crises and issues that challenge our national conscience. Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Ariyana Smith, the Minnesota Lynx, the Missouri Tigers football team, and stars across professional sports declaring that #BlackLivesMatter, are all part of a brave tradition of protest by athletes. Far from an anomaly, athletes leading on social change has been the norm in America. The right for those athletes, and all Americans, to protest is one we all pledged to defend with our lives if necessary. Far from disrespecting our troops, there is no finer form of appreciation for our sacrifice than for Americans to enthusiastically exercise their freedom of speech.

While we would not all personally choose to protest in a manner identical to Kaepernick, we respect and honor his choice, and whole heartedly join him in stating unequivocally that BLACK LIVES MATTER. The current state of affairs for people of color in America is unsustainable and unacceptable. According to analysis by the Washington Postblack people in America are two and a half times more likely to be shot and killed by police than white Americans. Far too often, people of color are dying at the hands of law enforcement personnel in the streets, our jails, and their homes. Indictments are rare and convictions are essentially nonexistent.

This status quo outrages us as men and women who raised our right hands and pledged to defend, with our lives if necessary, a Constitution that proclaims intent to “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility,” and “secure the Blessings of Liberty.” Those ideals are simply not being upheld for all Americans.

As veterans, we implore all Americans to find your own way to challenge this status quo and advocate for “a more perfect union.” Your method of protest may not be to refrain from the traditions surrounding our national symbols, and it doesn’t have to be. You have the same right as Colin Kaepernick to choose whether and how to advocate, a right we support and served for. However you choose to use your voice, please do so with an understanding that many veterans do not condemn the protest of activists like Jackie Robinson, Colin Kaepernick and everyday Americans seeking justice. Indeed, we see no higher form of patriotism.

Eric Baker, United States Army Veteran

Bill Barton, United States Air Force Veteran

Robert Bateman, United States Army Veteran: Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom

Jason Bensley, United States Army Veteran: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Stephen Benson, United States Navy Veteran: Vietnam War

Keith Boyea, United States Air Force Veteran: Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom

Xavier Burgos, United States Army Veteran: Operation Enduring Freedom

Tony Camerino, United States Air Force Veteran: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Stephanie Driessel, United States Army Veteran: Operation Iraqi Freedom

LeighAnn Dunn, United States Army Veteran: Operation Iraqi Freedom

David Ramiro Duran, United States Army Veteran

Robin Eckstein, United States Army Veteran: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Rick Hegdahl, United States Navy Veteran: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Chris Holman, United States Army Veteran

Melanie Howie, United States Air Force Veteran

Mitchell Howie, United States Air Force Veteran

Keith Jeffreys, United States Army Veteran

Tara Jones, United States Navy Veteran: Gulf War Era

Jason Macon, United States Marine Corps Veteran: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Lamar Mapp, United States Army Veteran: Operation Enduring Freedom

Brian McGough, United States Army Veteran: Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom

Neal McGough, United States Army Veteran: Operation Enduring Freedom

Andrew Nixon, United States Army Veteran: Operation Enduring Freedom

Parker Ormsby, United States Army Veteran: Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom

Matt Osborne, United States Army Veteran

Jackie Rodgers, United States Army Veteran: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Terron Sims II, United States Army Veteran: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Richard Allen Smith, United States Army Veteran: Operation Enduring Freedom

Shannon Smyth, United States Air Force Veteran: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Ryan Sullivan, United States Army Veteran: Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom

Mike Stark, United States Marine Corps Veteran

Armondo Telles, United States Marine Corps Veteran

Catherine Trombley, United States Air Force Veteran

Colm Walker, United Staes Army Veteran: Operation Enduring Freedom

Bobby Wise, United States Army Veteran: Operation Iraqi Freedom


SOURCE: https://medium.com/@VetsForKaep/an-open-letter-of-support-for-colin-kaepernick-from-american-military-veterans-cda9bffb764c

by on Sep. 25, 2017 at 8:03 AM
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Replies (1-10):
BluesPagan2.0
by IWantTacos on Sep. 25, 2017 at 8:05 AM
4 moms liked this
Wish I could have added my name to that list. USAF veteran OIF/OEF.
cjsbmom
by Lois Lane on Sep. 25, 2017 at 8:16 AM
1 mom liked this

I'll bet if you reach out to them, they'll add it. I have a feeling other veterans who see this and agree will want to do the same thing. 

I honestly do not understand those who say this action is disrespecting the military/veterans. It is exercising a freedom they fought to defend. That is the highest form of respect there is. I'm glad at least some folks get it. 

Quoting BluesPagan2.0: Wish I could have added my name to that list. USAF veteran OIF/OEF.


BluesPagan2.0
by IWantTacos on Sep. 25, 2017 at 8:17 AM
5 moms liked this
We don't have to agree on every issue tobstand unified as a people and a country. I don't agree with many things people do however I will always support their right to do it.

Quoting cjsbmom:

I'll bet if you reach out to them, they'll add it. I have a feeling other veterans who see this and agree will want to do the same thing. 

I honestly do not understand those who say this action is disrespecting the military/veterans. It is exercising a freedom they fought to defend. That is the highest form of respect there is. I'm glad at least some folks get it. 

Quoting BluesPagan2.0: Wish I could have added my name to that list. USAF veteran OIF/OEF.

cjsbmom
by Lois Lane on Sep. 25, 2017 at 8:32 AM
2 moms liked this

And then there is this veteran:http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2017/09/25/wwii-veteran-takes-knee-support-anthem-protests/

And the comments he's getting -  from the same people who are screaming that taking a knee disrespects our veterans - is hypocrisy at its finest. 


anxiousschk
by anxiouss on Sep. 25, 2017 at 8:47 AM

I'm honestly at the point where I may read open letters, but they don't carry a whole lot of weight. 

You can find open letters from vets that are for and against kneeling during the anthem.  Anytime there's an issue, open letters will appear for and against that particular issue -- and those letters will be from people who appear to have a stake in that issue.  

Then everyone else will sort of co-opt those letters and trot them out as if to say "see, this is why I'm right!"  


cjsbmom
by Lois Lane on Sep. 25, 2017 at 8:54 AM
2 moms liked this

I think everyone has a right to their opinion. 

The problem I have - actually, it's a serious concern - is for the people who seem confused about our Constitutionally-protected freedoms. In the same breath they say we should respect the flag because these vets fought to protect our freedoms, they then say it's disrespectful for someone to use their freedom of speech to peacefully protest. Huh? Really? Where is the logic there? 

How does that make sense? Freedom of speech is the first protection afforded to us in the Constitution. It's first for a reason, because it's the most important. Veterans fight for our freedoms, and that means ALL of our freedoms. You (general you) can either accept it or not, but it's not being disrespectful to a veteran to use the freedoms they fought to preserve for you. That's the ultimate form of respect, IMHO. 

Quoting anxiousschk:

I'm honestly at the point where I may read open letters, but they don't carry a whole lot of weight. 

You can find open letters from vets that are for and against kneeling during the anthem.  Anytime there's an issue, open letters will appear for and against that particular issue -- and those letters will be from people who appear to have a stake in that issue.  

Then everyone else will sort of co-opt those letters and trot them out as if to say "see, this is why I'm right!"  



anxiousschk
by anxiouss on Sep. 25, 2017 at 8:59 AM
1 mom liked this

I completely agree with what you're saying.  It boggles my mind as well.  I greatly appreciate the veterans (like the 90 something vet who went viral for kneeling) who say that they fought for the right of these people to kneel today.  

I'm not sure how people can forget that.  


Quoting cjsbmom:

I think everyone has a right to their opinion. 

The problem I have - actually, it's a serious concern - is for the people who seem confused about our Constitutionally-protected freedoms. In the same breath they say we should respect the flag because these vets fought to protect our freedoms, they then say it's disrespectful for someone to use their freedom of speech to peacefully protest. Huh? Really? Where is the logic there? 

How does that make sense? Freedom of speech is the first protection afforded to us in the Constitution. It's first for a reason, because it's the most important. Veterans fight for our freedoms, and that means ALL of our freedoms. You (general you) can either accept it or not, but it's not being disrespectful to a veteran to use the freedoms they fought to preserve for you. That's the ultimate form of respect, IMHO. 

Quoting anxiousschk:

I'm honestly at the point where I may read open letters, but they don't carry a whole lot of weight. 

You can find open letters from vets that are for and against kneeling during the anthem.  Anytime there's an issue, open letters will appear for and against that particular issue -- and those letters will be from people who appear to have a stake in that issue.  

Then everyone else will sort of co-opt those letters and trot them out as if to say "see, this is why I'm right!"  



Donna6503
by Platinum Member on Sep. 25, 2017 at 9:01 AM
2 moms liked this
Can someone tell The Donald; that the players aren't kneeling, they're just "bending the knee" it's a sign of honor.

Also; can someone tell the NFL, if you can't penalize a player for "disrespecting the flag" then why are you penalizing a player for celebrating in the end zone after a touchdown, and doing so, with of all things ... a flag.
SeanandNoahsmom
by Dawn on Sep. 25, 2017 at 9:18 AM
2 moms liked this
Thank you for your service.

Quoting BluesPagan2.0: Wish I could have added my name to that list. USAF veteran OIF/OEF.
BluesPagan2.0
by IWantTacos on Sep. 25, 2017 at 9:24 AM
1 mom liked this
I think the celebrating in the end zone is more about how it's unsportsmanlike. However I agree with you for the most part.

Quoting Donna6503: Can someone tell The Donald; that the players aren't kneeling, they're just "bending the knee" it's a sign of honor.

Also; can someone tell the NFL, if you can't penalize a player for "disrespecting the flag" then why are you penalizing a player for celebrating in the end zone after a touchdown, and doing so, with of all things ... a flag.
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