I know this will not be popular in some circles but there are issues that are so offensive and I believe important that I must react.
I will begin with my youth. I grew up in Babbitt, Nevada (now a ghost town) that was the housing area for the Naval Ammunition Depot at Hawthorne. I suppose those 600 Marines and Naval personnel stationed there taught me to respect the military and our flag. My father ensured I was dutiful in that respect and ensured when the National Anthem was played that I stood with my right hand over my heart. When on the base and Reveille or Taps were played, I stopped what I was doing and faced the music whether I could see the flag pole or not. As my dad put it — common courtesy.
Now fast forward to my entry into the Air Force and Vietnam. I had a deep respect for the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance and the military, but it was driven home when assigned to the 3rd Marine Division on the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone).
When you put your brothers in arms in rubber body bags when their only sin was defending our flag and their brothers your respect and devotion to the flag really becomes personal. I and my brothers did what we were assigned to do not only for our country and ourselves but under the shadow of that red, white and blue piece of cloth that flew over us. That same piece of cloth drapes our coffins when we are put to rest.
I don’t consider myself anything but a person who answered the call and did what I was assigned to do. I came home to a nation divided and was spit upon, slandered and demeaned. It took years for me to make peace with the feelings I carried inside. I don’t ever want to see that occur again, it hurts too much.
Most of these athletes who are afforded the ability to make millions to play a game don’t know how lucky they are. The reason these players pull these stunts is because they had little structure in their formative years and believe division and public stunts are the only way to get noticed. Really they’re only showing their backside and their inability to effectively communicate any grievance they may have.
Those who choose to serve their country are patriots and deserve better than watching a bunch of crybaby rich SOBs disrespect their service and the country they served. Those who died in Normandy or a Pacific Isle are rolling over in their graves watching these players perform. I watched my father suffer in ill health from wounds both physical and mental from faraway places like New Guinea, Biak Island and New Hollandia so we could be the nation we have become and players can play a game making obscene salaries. I guess these players would rather we spoke German or Japanese, since we live in such an oppressive society speaking English.
I believe in the right to peaceful protest. I don’t believe anyone has the right to disrespect our military or our flag. I really believe these players are being used by the left to divide our country.
As such, I will no longer watch or attend professional football games and will start pursuing repeal of the laws that allow the National Football League to violate federal anti-trust laws.
Senator Dean, take note. I’m going to have to dig deep to go to my one game a year at UNR since Kaepernick was educated there.
He didn’t learn much.
Jim Bagwell of Carson City is a Vietnam veteran and graduate of the FBI National Academy who worked 31 years in law enforcement.