LAND OF THE FREE, HOME OF THE BRAVE

PHS senior and Prowl Associate Editor Tegan Lovelady discusses professionalism in protesting and the fundamentals of patriotism

Flags+line+the+cement+walkway+that+leads+to+the+retired+battleship%2C+U.S.S.+Missouri.+%22Mighty+Mo%2C%22+is+now+a+national+memorial+anchored+at+Pearl+Harbor+on+the+island+of+Oahu%2C+Hawaii.+

Tegan Lovelady

Flags line the cement walkway that leads to the retired battleship, U.S.S. Missouri. “Mighty Mo,” is now a national memorial anchored at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

According to Google, patriotism is defined as  “having or expressing devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country.” 

As patriotic Americans, we hold ourselves and others around us to a certain standard, to stand tall and proud as the National Anthem fills our ears. 

As it plays, we pay tribute to the many brave men and women who generously and continuously fight for our country. Some of us even pray for their safety. We are supposed to place our hands over our hearts, remove our hats and give every ounce of reverence we possess within us. 

It is also important to thank every veteran, active soldier and military family member we see for their service, at least that is the right way to treat those who fight or fought for our freedom. 

In the United States today, controversy revolves around whether people should kneel during “The Star Spangled Banner.” Hundreds of professional athletes and public figures have been using this form of protest on live television and in other public places. 

I understand that many people disagree with the state the U.S. is currently in, especially with the turmoil that has been occurring due to the recent election. As well as the fact that The First Amendment protects the right of the people to peacefully protest. 

But I believe many people are oblivious to the fact that the National Anthem is meant to honor our troops, who didn’t cause our current situation, and our country as a whole. 

In my eyes, it’s almost like chanting a little prayer that encourages the unity and patriotism of the American people. It’s a few seconds where everyone puts their differences aside and sings together, as a whole. It is a feeling that is second to none. 

Kneeling not only shows our military disrespect, but it shows younger generations that kneeling is acceptable, and it shouldn’t be. 

Believe it or not, kneeling and doing things that disrespect America’s National Anthem, doesn’t make our country, which is currently a nation divided, any more centralized. If anything, it just further stirs the pot.

It also bothers me that many people, especially professional athletes, don’t realize that there is a time and a place to protest the inequality and disunion of our nation. 

That place is not a professional football field, basketball court, etc. And getting to play the sport you love, in the greatest country in the world, making close to $800,000 a year, doesn’t make you oppressed. There are people who are truly suffering from great injustice.

How dare you kneel when you’ve never served in the military. How dare you kneel when you’ve never felt the heartache of dragging a fellow soldier through gunfire. How dare you kneel if you’ve never been handed a folded up American Flag.

When I hear about people kneeling in the news, I wonder if there are people in our country that still believe in true nationalism.

Americans, kneeling during the anthem is not patriotic. If anything, it is vastly disheartening. 

When did our country become so pathetic? We are supposed to exemplify “the American dream.” We are supposed to stand up together, as one. And have each other’s back, no matter the situation, skin color, sexual orientation, gender or family name. 

For the sake of “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” do better. Stand up for the Anthem the same way you would against injustice and oppression. 

“To survive in peace and harmony, united and strong, we must have one people, one nation, one flag,” Australian politician Pauline Hanson said while giving her maiden speech to Australia’s Parliament in 1996.

 

 

 

I