The definition of the word free is to “not be under the control of, or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes”. The definition of freedom is “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint”. I wonder how many times you see or hear those two words when you hear about anything that is associated with America. They call our beautiful country “The land of the free”, but when you I think about it, a lot of things that are supposed to fall under that definition of “free” simply don’t. I say that with the national anthem in mind. Why? Well, because I don’t understand why it is such a big deal if people don’t stand for it. In my opinion, in this land of the free, you should be able to sit without it being such big deal.
A lot of people would disagree, and that is okay because that is their opinion, but my opinion is okay also. It doesn’t make a person any less of any American to not stand for the national anthem. Do I stand for it myself? Yes. I’ll admit that there have been times that I was wearing a hat and didn’t take it off, but I have always stood up for it. From the time you are a kid it is drilled in your head for you to do it, and I don’t have a reason not to. Someone might look at the last sentence and think “Well why are you writing this then? What are you trying to say?” I have an answer for that. I’m trying to say that I don’t think anyone should receive backlash if they don’t stand, and I disagree with anyone being forced to.
That completely goes against this being a “free” country to say that people must stand for the National Anthem. It just does. If you disagree with that, then that’s ok, because you have the right to disagree, but people have the right to not stand either. I’m repeating myself to make my point. Just to put it out there; I am not anti-America. I love my country. I respect the military and the men and women who have served and went to battle. I have two sisters that served in the NAVY, and I commend the ones who have put their lives on the line. Lee Greenwood wrote the song “God Bless the U.S.A” and part of it, as I’m sure you know, says “And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free, And I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me.”
I’m proud to be an American. I’m happy to be free. Part of being free is being able to have your own opinion and have freedom of choice if you aren’t breaking laws. Last I heard, sitting for the National Anthem isn’t against the law. I think it’s wrong that you have freedom of choice not to do so, but you don’t really have freedom of consequence with this. It’s almost like one of those unwritten rules that you HAVE to stand up, but you really don’t. It doesn’t make you unpatriotic. It doesn’t make you hate the country or have no respect for the armed forces. That is what people act like not standing for it does though. What would I do if I were at a game and the guy next to me didn’t stand? Nothing. That would be his choice.
It’s not a character issue. People who rape people or murder have character issues. If I were to put religion in it, then I don’t think that God (or whoever you believe in or worship) is going to hold it against you for not standing for a National Anthem. I’m a Christian. I’m a Christ follower, and if I stopped standing for the National Anthem for the rest of my life I don’t think God would frown on that when I get to Heaven and say it was a Sin. Killing is a sin, but even Almighty God will forgive you for that. People, on the other hand, hold grudges and get mad over stupid stuff, and act like they are perfect. In my opinion, being able to make our own choices is something basic that this country was built on.
People from all over the globe come here to get a taste of this freedom. If you haven’t heard of him, look up the story of a guy named Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. He is a former NBA player that was suspended in 1996 for refusing to participate in the National Anthem pre-game ceremony. He ended up standing during the anthem and praying from that point on but ended up losing millions after that and it cut his career short because he was traded and after his contract expired no one would sign him, and he was only 29 years old and clearly still able to contribute as a player. He received death threats. He was actually born in America as Chris Jackson but he converted to Islam, and I don’t know the first thing about Islam, but it went against his religion, so he decided not to acknowledge the anthem. He didn’t try to convert anyone else, but people (including NBA commissioner David Stern) disagreed with his stance.
They had the right to disagree, but he had the right to not come out during the National Anthem. It’s not even because of his religion, it’s because in this country he was supposed to be free to do so. Like I said, I stand for the National Anthem, and my religion doesn’t say anything about whether I should or not, but I’m free to do whatever I want. Am I? I can’t think of any laws that say you can’t sit, and I can’t think of a place in the bible where it brings it up at all. In my opinion it’s not disrespectful, it’s just a personal choice. We are supposed to be free to have our own. God bless America.