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Anthem-kneelers disrespect veterans

To the editor:

Most of us have admired football sports champions at some point. They were our role models, and we wanted to follow in their footsteps. To us they were heroes, and we collected cards with their pictures on them and watched every game they played with our favorite team .

Unfortunately, today’s football players are losing their shine. Today, players refuse to stand for our national anthem and the American flag. Many choose instead to kneel when the national anthem is played.

What made Sunday’s protests even worse was that it was Gold Star Mother’s Day, honoring those Moms who lost sons or daughters to war.

Regardless of whatever perceived cause they may think they have, making their point in such a disrespectful and unpatriotic manner is uncalled for and inexcusable.

We live in the greatest country in the world. I have lived and worked in numerous other countries, and I thank God my passport is blue. In the United States, a person who is educated and works hard — regardless of color, ethnic group, religion or background — can achieve their dreams.

Someone once said you can judge a country’s success by how many want to come there. The U.S. is No. 1 in that regard.

During the past 12 years I have had the great privilege to attend a monthly breakfast where we honored World War II prisoners of war — men who walked the infamous Bataan Death March, had to ride in the holds of the Hell Ships to Japan and worked in dangerous Japanese mines until the end of the war.

Thousands died of disease, starvation and cruelty. They suffered inhumane conditions and many were simply tortured and murdered.

These men loved our flag, and they loved our country — in many cases fighting to the death for it. Heroes like this helped secure the future of the United States. It is because of the sacrifices of these men and women that today’s disrespectful football players can make their millions.

Given the sacrifices of these brave men and women, it is sad that so many of these football players would act in such a cowardly manner. To me they are no longer role models, and they should be ashamed of their actions. Instead, I believe they have betrayed the youth who idolized them and the country that gave them everything.

In honor of our military — past and present — these disrespectful actions must be stopped now. I agree with President Trump’s suggestion that anyone showing such disrespect to our flag should be fired.

God bless America.

Ed Fancher is a Suffolk resident and a combat veteran who served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1972. Email him at eddie_seawolf21@yahoo.com.