Rick Monday, Kaepernick, and the American Flag

On April 25, 1976, a few months before the Nation celebrated its Bicentennial, a former U.S. Marine, Rick Monday, performed what some have considered “the best play in baseball.”  At Dodger Stadium, during the fourth inning a pair of protesters ran onto the field with an American Flag.  A man doused the Flag with lighter fluid.  His first attempt to light a match and immolate the flag was unsuccessful.  Before the protesters, a father and son team, could light another match, the Chicago Cubs centerfielder ran in from his position and snatched the flag from the protesters.  Rick Monday still has that flag.

The man who achieved more notoriety for saving Old Glory from certain immolation than anything he accomplished on the baseball field has been interviewed a number of times regarding his thoughts on Colin Kaepernick, as well as the other athletes who sit or kneel during the pregame performances of the National Anthem.

“For me it disrespects everyone who has served in this country of ours.  I cannot understand the argument.  I’ve lost friends protecting the rights and freedoms we have in this country.  I’ve attended funerals at Arlington National Cemetery.  I don’t get it.”  Monday’s wife, Barbaralee, has taken the flag Rick saved on fundraising tours to more than a dozen states in support of veterans’ issues.  Monday’s wife says, “We drape the caskets of our fallen warriors with the flag, and it’s presented to the family with the words, ‘From a grateful nation.’”

Former 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick’s has made his motive clear for his protests: He was protesting racial injustice in America, especially the police killings of black people, an issue that began drawing increased national attention after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.  And the target of his protest was the American Flag and the National Anthem.  “At the end of the day the flag is just a piece of cloth and I am not going to value a piece of cloth over people’s lives.  That’s just not something I can do, it’s not something I feel morally right doing and my character won’t allow me to do that.”  

A former Denver Broncos football player, Shannon Sharpe, on his television show, regurgitated Kaepernick’s charges, declaring the American Flag to be a racist “piece of cloth” that “nobody fights for.”  Mr. Sharpe went further by showing his disdain for America, the American Flag, but he was especially critical of Francis Scott Key’s Star-Spangled Banner as if the words had some secret meaning that was odious to blacks.  “Well, we know what the anthem was originally written for and who it was written by, okay?” 

Mr. Sharpe doesn’t explain “what the anthem was originally written for.”  Maybe he is unfamiliar with Wikipedia.  The National Anthem is a fixture in hymnals across the United States.  As are the patriotic songs The Battle Hymn of the Republic, God Bless America, America the Beautiful, and many others.  In my 20+ years in the Marine Corps I’ve heard The Star-Spangled Banner played thousands of times; every morning when the Flag was raised.  You would think that the African-American officers I served with would have told me there was something secret and devious to The Star-Spangled Banner.  But they didn’t.

I am reminded of two especially unusual performances of The Star Spangled Banner.  They took place in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the United States.  On September 12, 2001, the Queen of England broke with tradition and allowed the Band of the Coldstream Guards to perform America’s National Anthem at Buckingham Palace, London, at the ceremonial Changing of the Guard, as an unmistakable signal and gesture of support.  The following day at a St. Paul's Cathedral memorial service, the Queen joined in the singing of the anthem, an unprecedented occurrence. 

During a political event in Alabama, President Trump called out some National Football League owners: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now.  Out!  He’s fired.  He’s fired!’”  Since the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick was no longer in the NFL, President Trump’s comments were directed at team owners and other football players who recently picked up the Kaepernick practice of kneeling during the singing of the first verse of The Star-Spangled Banner.  It really is telling when America sees millionaires get their panties in a wad and act like a three year old pitching a tantrum.

Maybe it’s just the media’s insidious power to ignore that explains why no one in media can report on what the NFL players have been protesting.  Why some insist on linking arms as the National Anthem is played.  Isn’t linking arms just another form of protesting the Flag and the Anthem.  And America.  You can link arms but refuse to place your hand on your heart? 

Is the problem with what President Trump said?  Or is the real problem centered around the fact that many African-American athletes now have an issue with America’s Flag, its Anthem, or America itself?  If you’re a product of the left, I can fully understand the issue.  Two weeks ago it was the Confederate Flag.  Last week it was Confederate statues.  This week apparently it’s that racist “piece of cloth” that “nobody fights for.”  Next week, who knows what it will be?  Cotton sticks at the local Hobby Lobby?

The Black Lives Matter and the “Hand’s Up-Don’t Shoot” movement that Colin Kaepernick is so famous for “fighting for” is based on lies and a false premise, and is maintained by a corrupt media.  During court we learned some damning facts -- a 300-pound African-American beat up a little immigrant storekeeper while stealing cigarillos to make into marijuana blunts.  This same thug beat up a cop and tried to steal the cop’s weapon.  No one stuck their hands in the air and said, “Don’t shoot.”  Believing the cop is to blame when he shoots the drug crazed Michael Brown is the textbook definition of “delusion.”

Kaepernick can choose to live in a fantasy world where white cops are targeting innocent black kids.  If his fellow teammates had half a brain they would reject the poisonous radical quarterback’s view of the world and stop following him.  But they are ignorant and cowards too.  What is it that makes them so valuable to the team that they keep them on the payroll?  No leadership from the team owners.

If anything, Kaepernick and his marching band of kneelers are national embarrassments.  Do they really think they are going to win over anyone to their side?  The unintended consequences of their actions are the complete exposure of their radical agenda and their actual anti-law enforcement, anti-military, anti-American Flag, anti-Anthem, and anti-America worldview. 

Americans resent those who disrespect the American Flag and our National Anthem.  Rick Monday said, “So how grateful are we if we do not respect the very people that have given?  They gave the ultimate, protecting the rights and freedoms the flag represents.”

“For those who have served, that’s how they view it and desecration of the flag is treason.”

Well before I enlisted in the Marine Corps, I knew that when The Star-Spangled Banner played and I was out of uniform, I was to stand at attention, place my hand over my heart and wait until the music ceased before going on my way.  When in uniform, I would turn to face the music and saluted.  Proudly.  And I wasn’t alone.

When I attended the Naval War College, where we had some 55 foreign naval officers -- Muslim, Hindu, Christians -- in my class I can report that every single one of those officers stood at attention, rendered the appropriate respect for America’s Anthem.  When these foreign officers’ national anthems were played, American officers and civilians stood and rendered the appropriate honors as well.  It’s a matter of respect.  Not doing so would be a matter of disrespect.  The Naval War College was a master’s program.  Football players are not that smart.

On April 25, 1976, a few months before the Nation celebrated its Bicentennial, a former U.S. Marine, Rick Monday, performed what some have considered “the best play in baseball.”  At Dodger Stadium, during the fourth inning a pair of protesters ran onto the field with an American Flag.  A man doused the Flag with lighter fluid.  His first attempt to light a match and immolate the flag was unsuccessful.  Before the protesters, a father and son team, could light another match, the Chicago Cubs centerfielder ran in from his position and snatched the flag from the protesters.  Rick Monday still has that flag.

The man who achieved more notoriety for saving Old Glory from certain immolation than anything he accomplished on the baseball field has been interviewed a number of times regarding his thoughts on Colin Kaepernick, as well as the other athletes who sit or kneel during the pregame performances of the National Anthem.

“For me it disrespects everyone who has served in this country of ours.  I cannot understand the argument.  I’ve lost friends protecting the rights and freedoms we have in this country.  I’ve attended funerals at Arlington National Cemetery.  I don’t get it.”  Monday’s wife, Barbaralee, has taken the flag Rick saved on fundraising tours to more than a dozen states in support of veterans’ issues.  Monday’s wife says, “We drape the caskets of our fallen warriors with the flag, and it’s presented to the family with the words, ‘From a grateful nation.’”

Former 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick’s has made his motive clear for his protests: He was protesting racial injustice in America, especially the police killings of black people, an issue that began drawing increased national attention after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.  And the target of his protest was the American Flag and the National Anthem.  “At the end of the day the flag is just a piece of cloth and I am not going to value a piece of cloth over people’s lives.  That’s just not something I can do, it’s not something I feel morally right doing and my character won’t allow me to do that.”  

A former Denver Broncos football player, Shannon Sharpe, on his television show, regurgitated Kaepernick’s charges, declaring the American Flag to be a racist “piece of cloth” that “nobody fights for.”  Mr. Sharpe went further by showing his disdain for America, the American Flag, but he was especially critical of Francis Scott Key’s Star-Spangled Banner as if the words had some secret meaning that was odious to blacks.  “Well, we know what the anthem was originally written for and who it was written by, okay?” 

Mr. Sharpe doesn’t explain “what the anthem was originally written for.”  Maybe he is unfamiliar with Wikipedia.  The National Anthem is a fixture in hymnals across the United States.  As are the patriotic songs The Battle Hymn of the Republic, God Bless America, America the Beautiful, and many others.  In my 20+ years in the Marine Corps I’ve heard The Star-Spangled Banner played thousands of times; every morning when the Flag was raised.  You would think that the African-American officers I served with would have told me there was something secret and devious to The Star-Spangled Banner.  But they didn’t.

I am reminded of two especially unusual performances of The Star Spangled Banner.  They took place in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the United States.  On September 12, 2001, the Queen of England broke with tradition and allowed the Band of the Coldstream Guards to perform America’s National Anthem at Buckingham Palace, London, at the ceremonial Changing of the Guard, as an unmistakable signal and gesture of support.  The following day at a St. Paul's Cathedral memorial service, the Queen joined in the singing of the anthem, an unprecedented occurrence. 

During a political event in Alabama, President Trump called out some National Football League owners: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now.  Out!  He’s fired.  He’s fired!’”  Since the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick was no longer in the NFL, President Trump’s comments were directed at team owners and other football players who recently picked up the Kaepernick practice of kneeling during the singing of the first verse of The Star-Spangled Banner.  It really is telling when America sees millionaires get their panties in a wad and act like a three year old pitching a tantrum.

Maybe it’s just the media’s insidious power to ignore that explains why no one in media can report on what the NFL players have been protesting.  Why some insist on linking arms as the National Anthem is played.  Isn’t linking arms just another form of protesting the Flag and the Anthem.  And America.  You can link arms but refuse to place your hand on your heart? 

Is the problem with what President Trump said?  Or is the real problem centered around the fact that many African-American athletes now have an issue with America’s Flag, its Anthem, or America itself?  If you’re a product of the left, I can fully understand the issue.  Two weeks ago it was the Confederate Flag.  Last week it was Confederate statues.  This week apparently it’s that racist “piece of cloth” that “nobody fights for.”  Next week, who knows what it will be?  Cotton sticks at the local Hobby Lobby?

The Black Lives Matter and the “Hand’s Up-Don’t Shoot” movement that Colin Kaepernick is so famous for “fighting for” is based on lies and a false premise, and is maintained by a corrupt media.  During court we learned some damning facts -- a 300-pound African-American beat up a little immigrant storekeeper while stealing cigarillos to make into marijuana blunts.  This same thug beat up a cop and tried to steal the cop’s weapon.  No one stuck their hands in the air and said, “Don’t shoot.”  Believing the cop is to blame when he shoots the drug crazed Michael Brown is the textbook definition of “delusion.”

Kaepernick can choose to live in a fantasy world where white cops are targeting innocent black kids.  If his fellow teammates had half a brain they would reject the poisonous radical quarterback’s view of the world and stop following him.  But they are ignorant and cowards too.  What is it that makes them so valuable to the team that they keep them on the payroll?  No leadership from the team owners.

If anything, Kaepernick and his marching band of kneelers are national embarrassments.  Do they really think they are going to win over anyone to their side?  The unintended consequences of their actions are the complete exposure of their radical agenda and their actual anti-law enforcement, anti-military, anti-American Flag, anti-Anthem, and anti-America worldview. 

Americans resent those who disrespect the American Flag and our National Anthem.  Rick Monday said, “So how grateful are we if we do not respect the very people that have given?  They gave the ultimate, protecting the rights and freedoms the flag represents.”

“For those who have served, that’s how they view it and desecration of the flag is treason.”

Well before I enlisted in the Marine Corps, I knew that when The Star-Spangled Banner played and I was out of uniform, I was to stand at attention, place my hand over my heart and wait until the music ceased before going on my way.  When in uniform, I would turn to face the music and saluted.  Proudly.  And I wasn’t alone.

When I attended the Naval War College, where we had some 55 foreign naval officers -- Muslim, Hindu, Christians -- in my class I can report that every single one of those officers stood at attention, rendered the appropriate respect for America’s Anthem.  When these foreign officers’ national anthems were played, American officers and civilians stood and rendered the appropriate honors as well.  It’s a matter of respect.  Not doing so would be a matter of disrespect.  The Naval War College was a master’s program.  Football players are not that smart.

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