Jillian Cuzzolino

Dear Editor:


When a military member passes, the flag is taken off their casket, folded 13 times, and given to the family. This ritual is performed by a service member while kneeling.

In response to NFL player Colin Kaepernick sitting during the National Anthem to protest inequality in America, war veteran and current NFL long snapper Nate Boyer suggested that taking a knee was the respectful approach. Together, they decided that kneeling for the flag would allow Kaepernick to peacefully protest but simultaneously display his respect for the military. Kneeling during a military funeral is meant to honor the fallen member. Kneeling at the flag is meant to mean the same.

Kneeling during the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star Spangled Banner, or at the American flag is not to dishonor the military. Colin Kaepernick and the NFL players reformed their protest to portray quite the opposite. Soldiers don’t enlist with the flag as their reason. They sacrifice their lives to defend the freedom and rights of the American people. They are defending the freedom of speech. When NFL players use the rights that allow them to protest, they truly utilize the real gift of freedom the military fought for. That is how you honor them. Benjamin L. Corey is an Armed Forces veteran. He has a 90% disability, proving with his life how dedicated he is to this country. Corey was supportively vocal of the protest. “Nothing honors my sacrifice more than the public exercise of these core freedoms,” Corey said.

The flag stands for “liberty and justice for all”. But do you want to know what the American flag really stands for? The military is included under this umbrella but the flag is not exclusive to the military. All individuals of color are just as significant.

NFL players are kneeling with the purpose of raising awareness. People want to address the hypocrisy that exists in spite of the promise of the flag. In reality, the flag promises “liberty and justice for all” only if you meet certain criteria. If it wasn’t already obvious, there isn’t liberty and justice for all people in the United States. People of certain races are not given the same freedoms as others.  Discriminated people will never see their rights unless they make their voices heard. Kneeling is them calling on the world to right its wrongs. You can not condemn someone for actively fighting for their rights. Stop criticizing an attentive and peaceful protest. If you don’t like the way they are protesting, get involved to fix the problem. Join them in achieving equal rights for all.

Jillian Cuzzolino