Standing, sitting, kneeling: what it really means to be a patriot

Casper Badovinac and Becca Blumenberg

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I need to start off this article by saying that I am white. My parents were both in the military, they met at West Point and I’m the first generation in the Badovinac line to not have gone into the military. I’ll be the first one to tell you that this issue is not a military issue.

Acting like taking a knee is about respecting the military or a “screw you” towards American patriots completely ignores the real issue, a race issue. Both my parents and the soldiers that came before them stood for the same reason these players kneel. For everything we say America stands for: equality and freedom.

I have grown up with pieces of the Berlin wall on my cabinet shelf, next to a framed picture of my Grandfather in his officer’s uniform. My parents had taken those pieces off with a pickaxe, the day the Berlin wall fell. This is what heroism means to me: taking down walls and bringing freedom and liberty to people who had none.

It is for this reason that I respect taking a knee, honoring a flag in the locker room, or even not standing at all. Players are making a stand for their rights, for a more equal America. I don’t pretend to understand the struggles that African American citizens face, but I do understand what it means to be an American.

Change does not start with idleness, it starts with people who aren’t scared of voicing their beliefs in what’s right.

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In the year 1892, Francis Bellamy wrote the American Pledge of Allegiance post Civil War. The Civil War, one of the bloodiest battles in American History, lost over 750,000 people.

“[The flag] stands for paying respect for our soldiers and country,” said freshman Mari Coleman. Ever since NFL star Colin Kaepernick knelt during the National Anthem, he has been the center of much controversy. Kaepernick believes that the flag stands for an America that degraded African American citizens.

Many high school students, including GCHS students, have also refused to stand for the pledge.

While people like Kaepernick who believe the pledge stands for white supremacy, the truth is that people from all races have/are sacrificing their lives for America.

It is an American’s duty to stand for those who have fallen to protect this nation. There are deep racial divides in America, but the flag stands for this contry united, not the issues within. No one can say that the men and women who stood in combat to protect us deserve to be disrespected, especially those who have fought for racial justice.

“It’s one’s own opinion whether or not they stand,” said junior Taylor Pribyl.

Ultimately, it is not about standing or kneeling, but about knowing and respecting what the American pledge stands for.

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Standing, sitting, kneeling: what it really means to be a patriot