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Speaking out on the issue of the flag

Letter to the editor

POSTED: October 3, 2017 9:00 p.m.
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Editor: After writing two letters to the editor last year concerning our 2016 presidential election, I said I would not do that again, but in light of what is happening in our nation, particularly in the sports arenas in this nation and now in a foreign country and possibly in other venues that I am not aware of, I cannot and I will not be silent.

As a 76-year-old woman whose husband played professional baseball in the early years of our now 54 years of marriage, I still remember so well every night on the ball field seeing the players stand with their hats in hand, placed over their hearts, facing the American flag while our national anthem was played and then the cheers that went up by all after it was finished. Yes, that was in the 1960s when our country was going through some serious turmoil concerning racial issues. The wonderful thing during those years of turmoil was that we had both black and white players on the field and black and white families in the stand, but they all showed the same respect and appreciation for each other, and for the American flag and the national anthem of the nation that gave them the freedom and blessing to do what they were doing. The other wonderful thing was we all loved and respected each other.

It breaks my heart to now see the total disrespect that is being shown to the flag and national anthem and therefore to the nation, especially in the sports arenas and other venues where this disrespect may be shown. Is our nation perfect? No! Even with its flaws, is it still the greatest nation on this planet? I believe the answer is a resounding, yes! That is so evident by the number of people from other nations who are willing to do whatever is necessary, even to the point of possibly losing their lives, to get here. I strongly encourage all of those who are protesting what they are calling "racial injustice" to move to North Korea for one year and they will truly learn and probably experience "racial injustice," "social injustice" or any other kind of "injustice" you might imagine in a very real way. It is quite possible they may experience the same kind of injustice that our American

Warmbier, experienced in North Korea. He was beaten, tortured and sent home only to die just days later.

I agree with President Trump who stated that the owners of these sports teams should require these players to show respect to the nation that gives them the freedom and the opportunity to make millions of dollars to play a game, to live in mansions, to have multiple vehicles in their garages and much more. Do they have the right to protest? Absolutely! I strongly support their right to do that, however with "rights" comes "responsibility!"

Do I agree with the words President Trump used in expressing his position on this issue? Absolutely not! I do, however, agree with his position on the issue.

Sports teams are businesses that are supported by my and your money and those vendors who sponsor them on TV. The players, some coaches and even the NFL chief, Roger Goodell, who support this action and refuse to stand or even come out on the field during the national anthem are showing total disrespect for the nation, but also for those of us who support them by paying to go to their games, by watching them on TV and by purchasing the products of their sponsors.

They certainly have the right to do that, but we have the right to protest by not going to or watching their games and by not purchasing the products of those that sponsor them. Even though on Sundays, after we have exercised our desire and our freedom to worship our Lord, my husband and I really enjoy an afternoon of rest and watching ball games in whatever season it may be, we are choosing not to do that until this craziness stops. We would challenge many to do the same thing and just perhaps we might really see how many patriots there are left in this country.

There are other platforms for them to exercise their "right" to protest, but our household will refuse to pay for their current platform or support it in any way.

Our sports figures used to be the heroes we wanted our children to look up to, but now we don’t even want our children or grandchildren and in our case "greats" to know who most of them are or what they do! It is a sad state in which we find ourselves!

Of course, there are exceptions like, Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who won a bronze star while serving three tours in Afghanistan. He is a lone Pittsburg Steeler player who came out on the field and stood with his hand on his heart while the national anthem was being played.

The rest of his team was hiding in the locker room!

Thank you, Alejandro, for your bold bravery to stand up for what is right. After all, you and many others fought to secure the freedom for these disrespectful people to show their disrespect.

While I am at this, I want to speak to one more issue! As I understand it, much of these protests are also directed toward our law enforcement officers, all who put their lives on the line every day to protect those who protest.

Are there a few law enforcement officers who do bad things? Without question, yes, and they should be prosecuted to the fullest!

Are the majority of our law enforcement officers in this country good officers whose desire it is to protect the citizens of the communities in which they serve? Without question, yes!

I can speak to that from a little experience.

My father served as sheriff of Candler County, Georgia for 16 years, from 1957 to 1973. This, too, was during the years of much racial tension in our country. He served honorably during those years and had great respect from both the black and the white community in our county.

He was a small man in stature, but some said he "walked tall and carried a big stick!" There was never any "gray" with him. Citizen’s actions were either black or white, meaning you either obeyed the law or you didn’t.

When you didn’t, you reaped the consequences whether you were black or white, whether you were the mayor’s son or any other prominent person in the community or the person who was "as poor as a church mouse."

From experience, I am very much aware of the difficult situations our officers can be put in and have to make quick decisions to protect their own lives and often the lives of fellow citizens. It is not always easy, but without our law enforcement officers, I can tell you, we would have chaos and anarchy in this country!

I fear we may reach that state due to officers being told to stand down in certain situations or fearing to enforce the laws because of the repercussions they may face. My father would turn over in his grave if he could see the disrespect being shown for our law enforcement officers today! My husband and I are so grateful for the Liberty County law enforcement officers, both city and county, who put their lives on the line for us every day they serve!

Thank you and may God bless each and every one of you!!

I have gone out on a limb on two issues regarding our nation, so I might as well go one step further. This great nation was founded on biblical principles. Whether you believe that or not, I encourage you to do some research. As a nation, we have removed Almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth, and His Son, Jesus, from our public square and sadly from too many of our homes and when that happens in a nation, they are subject to fall.

My prayer is that, as individuals and as a nation, we will turn back to The One who has blessed this nation beyond measure!

P S: After I finished writing my letter to the editor, I heard on the news that Alejandro Villanueva has since apologized for standing during the national anthem on Sunday. He now says it was a big mistake!

This smells like a two week old dead fish to me! It had already been reported that the Steeler’s coach, Mike Tomlin, had stated he did not want Villanueva to stand for the national anthem. I’m sorry, but this was no accident. I saw the picture of Villanueva standing with his hand on his heart and a facial expression of great respect. I wasn’t born yesterday! This is a classic case of pressure from the coach or someone in the Steelers organization to apologize! The leverage might have even been his job! Obviously, we will never know, but I am sure of one thing, his standing was not an accident. The picture is a dead giveaway! Sad! He can be pressured to apologize and criticized for doing the respectful thing while others are lauded for doing the disrespectful thing! Go figure! We are upside down!

Lynda Hall

Hinesville

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