This last weekend my heart broke when I heard the news reports stating that the National Football League players had decided to kneel for the National Anthem rather than stand with their hands over their hearts. This comes after America is choosing to remove history from our country with the removal of statues of some of the great men who fought so very hard to protect our country. This comes as we become a divided nation wondering if whites and blacks are treated fairly and equally or if we simply oppress black people. This week I have come to these conclusions: 1. We stand as respect, to honor, and to remember. 2. We have monuments to remember the moments and to learn from the past so that we don’t commit the same mistakes. And 3. We are only a nation as divided as we choose to be.
We Stand as Respect, to Honor and Remember
This week I attended Colby’s 8th grade football game. I look forward to these events to not only see him play, but to hear young voices sing such profound words spoken in our National Anthem. I wondered heading to the game what this would look like; would players kneel, would they stand tall together? As we all rose for the playing of the National Anthem I looked down to the field and tears came to my eyes as I saw young men standing together hand over hearts for our National Anthem. I saw one team with a hand on each one of their shoulders as well as their hearts; I instantly thought of the camaraderie that these boys shared. I thought about all the men and women throughout history who have risked their lives and in some cases given their lives for our freedom and to protect this great nation in which we call home. I thought of my Grandpa who served in the Navy who truly risked his life on many occasions for us. I thought of all the time he spent away from his new bride to fight for us, to give us what we have today. I thought of my brother and brother in law who also served in the Navy and the time that they spent away from their families as they served. I thought about my husband and his brother who served in the Air Force, who truly dedicated years of their lives away from their families in the most dangerous of areas for you and for me. I thought of the soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country, our families, and us. We stand as we hear the words of the National Anthem to Respect, to Honor and remember these people.
Monuments as Life Lessons
As we continue to see statues get taken down and schools get renamed I ponder why America is choosing to change and rewrite history. Perhaps some people might say I am out of touch and that’s fine, but this is what I think. I think those statues mean something more than just representing a person like Robert E. Lee they represent a period of time. They represent an event where we learned something; that we grew from, and changed to become better. What would happen if we didn’t talk about slavery and how harsh it was? Would people eventually try to bring back this horrible act? What if we didn’t talk about some of the great leaders of the past who were standing up for what they felt was right? Would we be less of a leader now throughout the world? Would we have less of a desire to stand up as much for what we believe in because we no longer look to these examples as we try and erase history? When we don’t learn from history, history will eventually repeat itself, by the removal of statues are we setting ourselves up to repeat history? I hope not, but I fear we are.
A Nation Divided
We are becoming a divided nation, but we are only as divided as we choose to be. If you choose to think we are a nation divided by color than we are. If you choose to see a nation of individuals coming together for one common purpose than we are. This is when we can actually learn from our kids if you think we are divided. Look to our kids and follow their example. Kids can see that other people might have a different skin color than them, but that’s all they see. This small difference doesn’t stop them from playing together, sharing snacks at lunch, and inviting them over for playdates; they become best friends and life long friends who would always have each other’s back. This small difference shouldn’t stop us as adults either. We are divided because people choose to be divided.
I understand that at times our President might not say or do the most intelligent things, but why are we going to let that define us as an individual, as a group of people, and as a nation? There are other ways to stand up for inequality if we feel this exists, but is doing it during the National Anthem the right time? I will answer this for you, no it is not. Those precious moments of time are there for us to show respect, honor and remember, not express our differences and hatred towards one another. So with that being said, let us stand a little taller, sing a little louder, and be proud to be an American as we hear the National Anthem this weekend and always.