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Everlasting Memories Blog About Life, Loss and Everything In Between

National Anthem Constroversy

Posted by Hallie S. on

“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” Peter Marshall

If you’re a newspaper reading, news watching, sports fan, barber shop gossip, bus stop parent or anything in between, you’re most likely aware of the ongoing controversy surrounding the American Flag and the National Anthem at the start of local and national level sporting events. Many sporting franchises have been affected by the ongoing controversy as athletes have been using the singing of the anthem as a forum for personal expression of beliefs or as a way of taking a stand for or against particular causes. This controversy has sparked national debate amongst people from every walk of life and, like many others, we ask the question - Is it disrespecting those that sacrificed and fought for our freedoms when you exercise that freedom and show disregard to two of our national symbols representing bravery and freedom? Is it right? Is it American?

The Background Story

Our national anthem goes hand in hand with our American flag - I think we can all agree on that. When you stand for the national anthem, it is a way of showing respect for the United States of America, for those that serve and protect our nation, for our founding fathers through which we have a flag, an anthem, a Declaration of Independence. We stand as a way to give thanks for those that died while preserving our rights and as a show of respect for those that continue to fight for those same rights. We stand and honor our flag for those veterans and military that sacrificed their lives for our country, for our freedom.

Some could argue that the flag is also a representation of progress - where our country has been and where our country in going. Where all who live here have the opportunity to live and PROSPER. A way of giving thanks for those that have paved the way so that where we have the realization that we are not a perfect country, we do have a foundation upon which we are allowed the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The Main Player

Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers started sitting during the national anthem as a way to show support for African Americans being suppressed in the United States as well to take a stand against police brutality. The show of protest began during the preseason and gained national attention on August 26. 

Kaepernick’s silent protest is far reaching and has started a catalyst for other players within the NFL to take a knee or not stand during the anthem and even local sports teams across the nation have had instances where players have elected to not stand and address the flag while the anthem is played

It is reported that Kaepernick made the decision to not stand and show pride for a country that he says oppresses black people and other people of color as well as issues regarding police brutality. Kaepernick, who signed a six year, $114,000,000 contract with the 49ers and when combined with guarantees and signing bonuses has a reported annual salary of approximately $19,000,000, has stated that he is simply in a position where he has a platform for a voice to be heard and effect change and that he was doing that for people that can’t.

So What Makes This a Problem?

Let’s see why we may have some conflicting values here: 

  • A country that is a hodgepodge of different races, religions, economic statuses, marching forward, continually working to bring a commonality to all those that live there in order to promote a stronger and more unified front to the world as well as allow all to prosper - dream the American dream. Check
  • National symbols that signify the freedoms that our founding fathers, our veterans and current military continue to fight for and encompass millions of families that in some way, shape or form have sacrificed in order to preserve these freedoms. Check.
  • Athletes in a high profile position using their platform as a way to create controversy highlighting the negative in our country. Check.
  • Athletes, aka 'role models to children and young adults', further utilizing their position within their franchise for personal expression of beliefs. Check.

Why this causes controversy

As a country, as a nation, as a group of people living and working together, there are certain symbols that unite us despite our backgrounds, despite our individualism. Symbols such as our flag, our anthem were created to bring us together, not tear us apart. And there are countless Americans, hundreds of thousands that have lost their lives, sacrificed everything, for the rights and the freedoms that the flag and the anthem represent.

So those that are in high profile, role model positions - i.e. athletes, politicians - don’t they have a duty to show support for those things that make America great when they are representing their brand, their franchise, their constituency? A moral obligation to focus on the positive, to be a catalyst for change because of inspiration - not create change due to desperation? Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t those American dollars in your bank account? Are you representing an American sport, the government of the United States of America, a nation?

Who is doing it Right?

Instead of condemning what is wrong, why not celebrate what is right - when you are on the clock? As with everyone, when you are on your time, your personal time, by all means - express yourself. Let me give you an example:

Connor Barwin. It’s not his impact on the Philadelphia Eagles that has made a difference. Nope. Barwin worked tirelessly to raise support and invested his own time and money into revamping a park in South Philadelphia. This park was once a source of violence became a fresh start for the city, a symbol of peace and inspiration

Russell Wilson. Wilson makes an impact at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Seattle community and goes to “Blue Tuesday” at the hospital to spend time with the kids and is heavily involved in raising awareness for those in need.

Patrick Peterson. Back in 2013, he started the Patrick Peterson Foundation for Success. The foundation has provided over 40,000 low income and inner city youth with resources and opportunities that are centered around helping them BE GREAT.

Richard Sherman. Launched the Blanket Coverage - The Richard Sherman Family Foundation in 2013. The foundation helps to provide not only school supplies but clothing as well to kids in underprivileged neighborhoods and underfunded schools to help them achieve both personal and academic goals.

There are ways that you can create change, be a catalyst to help others, open up eyes and ears, that are an inspiration. It doesn’t have to be a brash display of disrespect - that does not create positive change. It opens up the door to anger, criticism, creates a chasm that divides us rather than unites us.

Whether you sing the national anthem, sign it, play it, what have you - it is a part of us and what we stand for as Americans. It is a symbol of our freedoms, our rights and with those freedoms and rights comes accountability. When we choose to exercise the freedoms that thousands before us fought so valiantly for, it is important and, one might even say imperative, that we hold ourselves accountable to those expressions or exercises of those freedoms. And all of these freedoms would not be ours without sacrifice. Sacrifice from those who have fought wars before us. Sacrifice from families that say good-bye to their loved ones. The sacrifice of our military, past and present, that repeatedly puts their lives on the line to continue to fight for our freedoms. Sacrifice from those that leave families behind and come to America with the hopes of a better life.

Our Beliefs and Values

At Everlasting Memories, we believe in freedom. And we believe that as Americans, it is our freedoms that make this country great. Our flag, our anthem, the red white and blue - those symbols matter because so many fought for them and what they stand for.

We believe in being held accountable for our values as individuals and our values as a company. If we say something, we write something, express an opinion - we stand behind it and are accountable for that freedom of expression. We don’t just preach about integrity - we live it. We work hard to give back and pay it forward and look for the good - and expand upon it.

We honor the sacrifices that those in our military and within individual families have made so that we can exercise our freedoms. We provide flag cremation urns and military medallions so that families can have a symbol of sacrifice and freedom to honor their loved ones. Many of our products are American made. We strive to give our best because we have the FREEDOM to choose to do so. And, as always, family is important to us and for our customers, our products become a part of your family, remember a member of your family. And for us personally and as a company, that is an honor.