I had to think long and hard about taking on this issue. I chose to put on a uniform and, like so many other patriotic veterans, wrote a blank check on my life to defend my country and its principles. So, at first, I was taken aback by football players not standing for the national anthem. In fact, I was a little angry. But I elected to wear the uniform to defend my country— from all enemies foreign and domestic—to support a system that allows others their freedom of expression, even if it is a dissenting or an uncomfortable opinion.
Taking a knee is not about disrespect for the national anthem or the flag of our country—but a personal statement to highlight that some feel differently about how they might be treated as Americans. It is a cry for social justice. And as we know, because there are cellphone cameras everywhere, some young men of color are treated poorly in the United States. I never would have dreamed that these kinds of actions against some citizens of my country still occur.