Patriotism is more than a single word

This past Sunday in the National Football League wasn’t about who won and who lost.

It was about who stood up for the national anthem, and who didn’t.

In other words, the whole controversy started a year ago by then San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick, has become a political football.

Just about everyone has gotten involved in the fray, including our president.

With a possible looming nuclear war looming in North Korea and national disasters popping up everywhere, I would like to think the leader of our nation would have more pressing issues to address.

The only person I have any respect for in this whole thing is Pittsburgh Steelers’ lineman Alejandro Villanueva.

While his team sat in their dressing room during the playing of the anthem, he had the conviction to go outside and salute the flag.

For that action, he was actually chastised by his coach Mike Tomlin for not sticking with his teammates.

A decorated U.S. Army Ranger who saw three tours of duty in Afghanistan, Villanueva had more right than any of his teammates to show his respect to the flag.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t consider myself to be more patriotic than the next guy.

I served three years in the Army (after being drafted) between 1969 and 1972, even though I opposed the war in Vietnam.

I believe it was a war that was strictly designed to put money in the pockets of wealthy businessmen. At the cost of lives to thousands of young men and women.

I also feel the Iraq War, and the current conflict in Afghanistan, are being waged for the very same reason.

But being patriotic is more than politicians and NFL team owners trying to make themselves look good in the eyes of the American public.

As Villanueva said after his recent actions: “There will never be a time when I won’t stand up for the national anthem.”

Amen to that.


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