A U.S. Army general explained to NFL players indirectly why Americans stand for the flag after widespread protests this weekend across the league.
“It’s important to remember that our military is composed entirely of volunteers. It obviously takes a special kind of patriotism for people to volunteer to risk their life for their country. Theirs is not blind patriotism that pretends there is nothing wrong with the country. Every man and woman in uniform knows we still have work to do to achieve the equality, opportunity, and justice for all to which we aspire. But every member of the military also knows that what is right about America is worth defending. And if it’s worth defending, it’s worth honoring,” U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey said. “I just hope that the athletes who are using the anthem as a protest understand why people like me intend to keep standing during the national anthem. We do so not because we agree with everything America has done or everything that has been done in America’s name, but because, despite all of that, the world is a better place because America exists. That seems to me to be worth the honor of respect during the national anthem.”