Requiring people to stand for the national anthem or to salute the flag does not convey respect; it conveys obedience.
It reminds me of living in Germany in the 1980s and taking our German neighbors to an event at our children’s American elementary school. They were appalled to see our kids standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance with their hands over their hearts.
One person commented: “In Germany, one would never see this kind of display. Maybe it’s because of a shameful time in our history.”
I’ve never forgotten that and think of it every time I see children in oppressed countries saluting their flags and their leaders.
Ours is a free country, with free speech. Players kneeling during the anthem in peaceful, meaningful protest should be protected and respected. That’s exactly the freedom our brave servicemen and women fight for.
Susan Howson, Tacoma