Engaging in Dialogue: A Response from a Former Marine, Police Officer, and Pastor on Kaepernick

When one person’s rights are violated, everyone’s rights are in jeopardy.

As I understand it, Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem was birthed from a conversation between him and an Army Green Beret member during the time when Kaepernick was sitting in protest of what he viewed as unfair treatment of African Americans by the law enforcement community.

The Green Beret service member approached Kaepernick and they discussed how the service member viewed his act of sitting. Subsequently, Mr. Kaepernick agreed to kneel instead of sit. As I understand it, afterwards, they both left with a healthy respect for one another.

This demonstrates something important. When we choose to engage in dialogue as a means of education and enlightenment in regards to differences in perspective and culture, we can make strides to bridging the gap of understanding.

As a veteran of the Marine Corps, the notion of kneeling during the playing of our National Anthem in silent protest lends to an array of conflicting emotions for me personally. Part of this is simply the fact that during the Anthem, I am in deep reflection.

Having proudly served in the Marine Corps, my conviction concerning the National Anthem is that it’s great! It’s part of the cornerstone of our great nation. The men and women who have diligently served in any capacity of the Armed Forces are unified in their allegiance to protect and defend the United States.

To many, the Anthem signifies both the pride and the sacrifice of those who serve and have served, and those who’ve fought and will fight in defense of our nation. In the same vein and with the same proclivity in the interest of freedoms nationwide, it is vitally important that the rights and liberties that those in our branches of the ...

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