Guest Post by Veteran Gailen G. Porter
As a 68 year Vietnam Vet, I really get jacked up over this kneeling when the Star Spangled Banner is played and Old Glory is waving in the background.
I remember too well … getting drafted and serving with some of the greatest men of my generation.
My best friend, Roger Harris, was one of those men.
He wasn’t as fortunate as some of us. Roger was hit in the back with an RPG round which paralyzed him from the waist down.
And when I’m having one of those down days … and that’s quiet often lately … I can rely on Roger to answer his phone and get me back on track.
Our flag became our nation’s symbol in 1777 and the Star Spangled Banner became our nation’s anthem in 1814. People died to make both of these factors happen.
None of us were around then but our great nation was becoming the standard for all others to follow. I wonder if they think we are the standard anymore?
Some of our history’s leaders have made great decisions and some not so great.
Nevertheless, this great nation in spite of all … still shines bright under the watchful eye of an awesome God.
But this kneeling stuff … only creates more division in our country. No longer is our unity admired by other powers because we are seen as a divided nation – for a lot of stupid reasons … especially selfish politicians who have big egos … and not to mention a crooked media that wouldn’t know what truth looked like if it smacked them on the face.
But what this kneeling stuff does to me personally is so offensive that I can’t really articulate it so that you can understand it fully.
There are better ways to protest.
There are better ways to protest that won’t divide us further.
But the root of this issue needs to be addressed.
You see the bad things that we have done as individuals don’t necessarily define who we really are … and for that I am grateful.
We can’t keep blaming those in the past for mistakes that can’t be changed.
Bringing up those mistakes is like playing a broken record. We should never burden the next generation with the mistakes of the past … they can’t do anything about it.
And keeping it in the forefront in various ways that are offensive just nurtures this bitterness.
The rich NFL players say they are protesting during the national anthem because of police brutality. Well here’s the deal … I know that many of you have been mistreated – and I’m sorry for your pain.
But this situation goes both ways. Those that don’t obey our laws and choose violence or other ways to break the law are going to be challenged by the police … because that’s what the police do … they hunt down law offenders.
Red and yellow … black and white skin … it don’t matter … if you break the law … you’re going to jail. If you live by the sword … then your are likely going to die by the sword.
And I know there are some bad police that abuse the public’s trust … but I believe there are more good police than bad … just like I believe there are more good, black Americans than bad.
I wish that we could learn from the past and move forward in a positive way.
I wish we could believe in each other again.
The God I serve forgives and even chooses to not remember my sin and mistakes.
How great it would be if we could all choose to not dwell on the past and refuse to place blame?
I choose to see the greatness in America … in our flag … our anthem … and our people.
No matter the color of skin, the tattoos, the piercings, the rich, the poor, religion or creed.
I believe in America.
And if you believe in something … you are loyal to it.
I believe in the freedom that we have.
I believe in the men who leave their families and go lay down their lives so that those fat cats can run around on a football field and get paid an insane amount of money.
So I have a message for those protesting the flag that I came close to loosing my life for.
Go take a history class and learn what the great men and women in our military have done to keep you free … then get honest and ask some hard questions.
How would you feel if you were made to go to Vietnam as a teenage boy and give up your dreams to keep America free?
Would you kneel if your best friend is forced to sit in a wheelchair day in and day out – plagued with unimaginable health problems as a result of his injury?
How would you feel if you left to serve and came home a broken man in ways that are inconceivable?
Would you kneel if your brokenness has hurt your family in ways they don’t deserve?
Get honest here if you got the guts.
Instead of using your platform to offend the armed forces of this great nation … use it for doing good.
Choose to make a real difference by promoting unity and respect.
Use the platform that God blessed you with to teach the generations coming behind you … why they should love and honor this great nation.
Use your platform to make a difference … not divide us further.
If we continue to think bad about each other everyday … then nothing is ever going to get better.
There are better ways to protest.
Go spend some of your millions and hire someone who can help you find a better way … a way that won’t offend good men who have sacrificed, bled and died for your freedom.
Sgt. Gailen G. Porter
23rd Infantry Division (Americal) 196 L.I.B. Light Infantry Brigade
Photo by Matthew Huang on Unsplash