I must be brief. When I saw the headlines, which stated that Mr. Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, refused to stand and honor the National Anthem, and the flag for which it was written, I nearly broke down and cried.
Because I am exceedingly passionate about this country, and because that with which I am most concerned is the protecting and preserving of the freedoms and liberties afforded us by this republic and our constitution, I will NEVER criticize another U. S. American for exercising his or her right to speak. I may not agree, but it is the right of every citizen of this great nation to lift his or her voice, in peace or in protest; and for Kaepernick, who has done so, I will bestow no censure.
I will say only this: That flag is bigger than you, bigger than me, bigger than all those who have spilled their blood and lost their lives defending it. It is your right to spit upon it, should you deem it worthy of such disgrace; but never forget that for which it truly stands; never forget what it has afforded you, personally and as a citizen; never forget what the hands that hoist it high, that fight and have fought to keep it in its place, have sacrificed that we, who have sacrificed little to nothing in comparison, may exercise our rights as we so choose.
Injustice exists. So long as man possesses an aptitude for hatred, for selfishness, suffering among men will endure. But to dishonor the symbol of unity, under which the vast majority wishes to see a brighter tomorrow for all our brothers, is to further divide a nation on the brink of internal destruction.
We are all brothers, a family under this star-spangled banner. And though we may ever see troubled times, we can stand as one, come together upon foundations of truth, trust, and unity; and through these hardships, holding high the symbol of that for which we strive daily to form, a more perfect union, we will like eagles soar. Our beautiful banner stands not just for what we are, but what we can be. And to turn our backs on that, to refuse to acknowledge it as it waves above our abundant prosperity, and ignore the hands who hold it high, is to forfeit, to abandon our only hope for a future of life, of liberty, and a pursuit of happiness.
It is your right, Mr. Kaepernick, to honor the flag as you choose. But, please, as one U. S. American to another, don’t give up. The next time that flag is raised, stand up; I’ll stand with you. We, those of us who truly want to see this country united, will stand with you.
May we realize that brighter tomorrow, and see this gold refined.
C. K. Conners
©2016 by C. K. Conners