Dave Cross

Dave Cross

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Why do we stand in respect for our flag and country during the national anthem? The answer is found in the courage and sacrifice of our veterans.

We all know the controversy about players kneeling during the national anthem at the start of NFL games. They are trying to advance their various social issues, but are showing disrespect for the flag and our country in the process. The resulting fallout has been bad for everyone, with lower ratings and unfilled stadiums. The league is facing the realization that when you act this way, it upsets a lot of proud, hard-working Americans.

Every veteran deserves to be remembered and honored. They represent rich and poor with every race and background. All served to protect and defend our flag, our country and our way of life. They stood for us. We should stand for them.

Since our country was founded, there have been over 2.8 million casualties by American veterans during times of war. This includes 1.3 million war-related deaths and 666,000 killed in action.

During the Civil War, 2,672,341 took up arms on behalf of the Union Army in a brutal war to end slavery, and 178,975 were African American soldiers, 3,530 were Native American troops. From this total, 642,427 Union servicemen became casualties during this noble cause. The flag they died for is the same symbol we should stand for.

In World War II, 16 million Americans served. It was an epic struggle to rid the world of evil. The Nazis believed they were a superior race and murdered millions of people because of their ethnicity. A million African Americans served, along with 69,000 Asian Americans, 25,000 Native Americans, 65,000 Puerto Ricans and 500,000 Mexican-Americans.

Over 400,000 servicemen died during the carnage of that brutal war. It affected families in every town and community across our nation. It was a terrible sacrifice, but we won. Imagine what that Greatest Generation would say about kneeling for the national anthem after what they endured.

On Iwo Jima, in the later stages of the war, Americans stood during some of the bloodiest fighting ever experienced in warfare, with over 26,000 U.S. casualties. As the Marines decisively gained control, they hoisted the American flag atop Mount Suribachi. It was, and still is a glorious symbol of perseverance and freedom that is displayed in every classroom and in millions of buildings across our great country. It’s our flag, and we should honor it.

In Korea, the United States had 33,652 killed in action. In Vietnam, 58,300 U.S. servicemen were killed, with another 153,000 wounded. Those were difficult times and all who served deserve our solemn respect.

Since 9/11, America has been locked in an ongoing war on terrorism. ISIS and accomplices massacre innocent people, abuse women, kill gays and lesbians, and commit genocide. In Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East, 7,000 of our bravest military men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice in this battle against evil. They are all but memories now to their families and friends. They stood for our flag. Shouldn’t we do the same for them?

Today, over 2 million men and women are serving in the military, and many are in harm’s way. We support them, pray for them, and stand for them.

Should you ever find a chance to talk with a protestor who feels compelled to kneel during the national anthem, remind them about the sacrifice made by our veterans. Tell them, this is why we stand.

Dave Cross is a local consultant, U.S. Army veteran and member of the Committee to Improve North County.

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