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Veterans 'Take A Knee' During City Council Pledge Of Allegiance To Protest Racism

If you think it's just athletes who are 'taking a knee' during the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem, then you haven't been looking around very much. People across the country are joining in the protests that first got notice in the NFL when then-San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick refused to stand to honor the country or the flag. Now, there are veterans following suit.

Veterans attending a city council meeting in Sacramento opted out of the Pledge of Allegiance. Instead, they knelt in solidarity as the pledge was recited in support of pro-athletes who have been called out by the president for kneeling.

President Donald Trump started a firestorm last month when he said at a rally that any players in the NFL who don't stand as the 'Star Spangled Banner' plays should be fired. Because of the president's comments, many people who swore they would never kneel during the anthem found themselves doing it, linking arms with protesters as a show of support.

Many see it as an issue of First Amendment rights. Some players are so dissatisfied with the way things are in the country, with persistent problems due to racism and police brutality, that they feel they can't in good conscience salute the flag or honor the nation.

Sitting out by taking a knee is a silent protest meant to bring attention to the pressing issues that continue to plague the country.

At the city council meeting, the Sacramento Chapter of Veterans, led by John Rieger, showed support for those kneeling by joining in that protest. As the local Boy Scouts troop and police cadets recited the pledge, the veterans dropped down to prove a point.

"We've served our country, we didn't serve it to support racism," said Reiger to CBS Sacramento. "We didn't serve it to support police brutality, these things are un-American."

The veteran chapter says they don't believe that athletes who are taking a knee are opposing the country, or the military. Unlike the president, they wanted to show support to any athlete who opts to protest during the national anthem.

"This is an important opportunity to let people know that as veterans we did not serve this country to defend its dark racist underbelly," Reiger wrote in an email to the Sacramento Bee. "By taking a knee during those supposedly patriotic moments we stand with the athletes, and other Americans, who want our country to live up to its better aspirations."

The country continues to be divided on the hot-button issue. Other veterans around the country have sided with President Trump on the issue. Many have ceremonially burned their NFL memorabilia – jackets, hats, posters and flags – and have claimed that until the NFL stops this blatant disrespectful demonstration, they’re swearing off the game.

YouTube videos have been popping up of patriotic former NFL fans showing their displeasure for the protests during the game. No one opposes an athlete’s right to protest, but many feel that it’s out of place during a game, when people are coming together in attempts to get away from all the tension and division in the country right now.

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: CBS, Sacramento Bee

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