To the Editor,
I’m an old soldier from the last century. Then, from the distance of Vietnam, it hurt to see my flag burned in the street. Not that we don’t have the right to do that, but take a moment and understand where that right came from.
It wasn’t from a president or the Senate or Congress — it was from a soldier. Actually — millions of soldiers — many of whom carried that flag home on their caskets, only to have it carefully folded and presented to their Mother — who had exchanged her baby for that piece of cloth. That piece of cloth designed by a soldier, paid for in their blood, freely given so this country could go on.
If you don’t like what it stands for, change it. Don’t get mad at the Flag because you don’t like President Trump, or Presidents Obama, Bush or Clinton. They are just part-time employees of ours. That’s right, we’re in charge.
Sure, you can demonstrate — here again, a soldier gave you that right — but demonstrations don’t mean much unless you’re willing to give at least a percentage of what those soldiers gave, and change it.
It hurts to watch professional athletes refuse to stand for the National Anthem. They can be fined or benched for disrespecting a referee, but disrespect the flag and they get a pass.
Perhaps before the next game, they would like to come with me to visit Bethesda Naval Hospital or Walter Reed — just to the Burn Units where they can take in that unforgettable smell — or the Amputee Ward and watch soldiers without legs struggle to stand when that Anthem is played.
Then, just a short 12 miles across the river to Arlington National Cemetery, where the real heroes are — not the ones on the NFL fields playing a kid’s game. If they want change, perhaps they should put some of their millions into helping the children of this country get a better start, or perhaps the NFL leadership could get a set.
Who knows—it might even improve the ratings, or have they too, taken too many hits to the head?
Retired director of Rockland Veterans Service Agency