It has been my habit in recent months to gather up my funny emails during the week and share them in what I call “The Saturday Funnies.” Quite curiously, they have suddenly dried up and have been replaced with the rage of the day – pro football players who kneel.
I can’t remember when our flag, of all things, has divided us. I am solidly on the side whose right it is to stand proudly, my hand on my heart, as I proclaim my allegiance to the United States. The flag is sacred to me because it represents all that I hold highest – my God, my country, my family, soldiers and police officers, first responders and freedom.
Because of our freedoms, those who want to disrespect our country and its flag have that right. I do not agree with it, nor appreciate the disregard our very privileged athletes have for the teams they represent, the jerseys they wear, or any teammates who hold an opposite view. Anytime an American incurs the wrath of another American, there is always a better way to achieve a harmonious solution benefiting both sides.
So instead of sharing anonymous funnies today, allow me to pick two of the essays that have unfortunately taken their place. Understand, I did not write either of the two stories that follow:
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TAKE A KNEE WITH AN AMERICAN
Take a little trip to Valley Forge in January. If you don't know where that is, just Google it from the sidelines. Hold a musket ball in your fingers and imagine it piercing your flesh and breaking a bone or two. There won't be a doctor or trainer to assist you until after the battle, so just wait your turn. Take your cleats and socks off to get a real experience. Then take a knee.
Then, take a knee at the beach in Normandy where man after American man stormed the beach, even as the one in front of him was shot to pieces... the very sea stained with American blood. The only blockers most had were the dead bodies in front of them, riddled with bullets from enemy fire.
Take a knee in the sweat soaked jungles of Vietnam. From Khe San to Saigon... Anywhere will do. Real Americans died in all those jungles. There was no playbook that told them what was next, but they knew what flag they represented. When they came home, they were protested as well… and spit on for reasons only cowards know.
Take another knee in the blood drenched sands of Fallujah in 110 degree heat... Wear your Kevlar helmet and battle dress... Your number won't be printed on it unless your number is up! You'll need to stay hydrated but there won't be anyone to squirt Gatorade into your mouth. You're on your own.
There's a lot of places to take a knee. Real Americans have given their lives all over the world. When you use the banner under which they fought as a source for your displeasure, you dishonor the memories of those who bled for the very freedoms you have. That's what the red stripes mean. It represents the blood of those who spilled a sea of it defending your liberty.
While you're on your knee, pray for those that came before you, not on a manicured lawn striped and printed with numbers to announce every inch of ground taken... but on nameless hills and bloodied beaches and sweltering forests and bitter cold mountains... every inch marked by an American life lost serving that flag you protest.
No cheerleaders, no announcers, no coaches, no fans... just American men and women... delivering the real fight against those who chose to harm us... blazing a path so you would have 'the right to take a knee.'
You haven't an inkling what it took to get you where you are; but your 'protest' is duly noted. Not only is it disgraceful to a nation of real heroes, it serves the purpose of pointing to your ingratitude for those who chose to defend you under that banner that will still wave long after your jersey is issued to another...
If you really feel the need to take a knee, come with me to church on Sunday and we'll both kneel before Almighty God. We'll thank Him for preserving this country for as long as He has. We'll beg forgiveness for our ingratitude for all He has provided us. We'll appeal to Him for understanding and wisdom. We'll pray for liberty and justice for all... because He is the one who provides those things.
And there will be no protest. There will only be gratitude for His provision and a plea for His continued grace and mercy on the land of the free and the home of the brave. It goes like this...
"God Bless America.”
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AN OPEN LETTTER TO NFL PLAYERS
You graduated high school in 2011. Your teenage years were a struggle. You grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Your mother was the leader of the family and worked tirelessly to keep a roof over your head and food on your plate. Academics were a struggle for you and your grades were mediocre at best.
The only thing that made you stand out is you weighed 225 pounds and could run 40 yards in 4.2 seconds while carrying a football. Your best friend was just like you, except he didn’t play football. Instead of going to football practice after school, he went to work at McDonalds for minimum wage you were recruited by all the big colleges and spent every weekend of your senior year making visits to universities where coaches and boosters tried to convince you their school was best. They laid out the red carpet for you.
Your best friend worked double shifts at Mickey D’s College was not an option for him. On the day you signed with Big State University, your best friend signed paperwork with his Army recruiter. You went to summer workouts. He went to basic training.
You spent the next four years living in the athletic dorm, eating at the training table. You spent your Saturdays on the football field, cheered on by adoring fans. Tutors attended to your every academic need. You attended class when you felt like it.
Sure, you worked hard. You lifted weights, ran sprints, studied plays, and soon became one of the top football players in the country. Your best friend was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. While you were in college, he deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan twice.
He became a Sergeant and led a squad of 19 year old soldiers who grew up just like he did. He shed his blood in Afghanistan and watched young American's give their lives, limbs, and innocence for the USA.
You went to the NFL combine and scored off the charts. You hired an agent and waited for draft day. You were drafted in the first round and your agent immediately went to work, ensuring that you received the most money possible. You signed for $16 million although you had never played a single down of professional football. Your best friend re-enlisted in the Army for four more years. As a combat tested sergeant, he will be paid $32,000 per year.
You will drive a Ferrari on the streets of South Beach. He will ride in the back of a Blackhawk helicopter with 10 other combat loaded soldiers. You will sleep at the Ritz. He will dig a hole in the ground and try to sleep. You will “make it rain” in the club. He will pray for rain as the temperature reaches 120 degrees.
On Sunday, you will run into a stadium as tens of thousands of fans cheer and yell your name. For your best friend, there is little difference between Sunday and any other day of the week. There are no adoring fans. There are only people trying to kill him and his soldiers. Every now and then, he and his soldiers leave the front lines and “go to the rear” to rest.
He might be lucky enough to catch an NFL game on TV. When the National Anthem plays and you take a knee, he will jump to his feet and salute the television. While you protest the unfairness of life in the United States, he will give thanks to God that he has the honor of defending his great country.
To the players of the NFL: We are the people who buy your tickets, watch you on TV, and wear your jerseys. We anxiously wait for Sundays so we can cheer for you and marvel at your athleticism. Although we love to watch you play, we care little about your opinions until you offend us.
You have the absolute right to express yourselves, but we have the absolute right to boycott you.
We have tolerated your drug use and DUIs, your domestic violence, and your vulgar displays of wealth. We should be ashamed for putting our admiration of your physical skills before what is morally right. But now you have gone too far. You have insulted our flag, our country, our soldiers, our police officers, and our veterans. You are living the American dream, yet you disparage our great country.
I am done with NFL football and encourage all like-minded Americans to boycott the NFL as well.
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PRO BASKETBALL PLAYERS WILL STAND
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Friday that it has always been a rule that players must stand respectfully during the national anthem and he fully expects the rule to be obeyed during the coming season.
“We have a rule that requires our players to stand for the anthem,” Silver said at a press conference in New York. “It’s been our rule for as long as I’ve been involved with the league, and my expectation is that our players will continue to stand for the anthem.”
Silver did not say what would happen if players did not stand but said if it happened they would “deal with it.”
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WHAT COULD YOU BUY WITH $448,373,425?
When the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars played in London last weekend, there were a combined 17 players from the two teams who kneeled for the Star-Spangled Banner yet stood for the British national anthem. The combined salaries of those 17 NFL players equal $448,373,425.