The Courage Behind Taking A Knee During The National Anthem
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Politics and Activism

The Courage Behind Taking A Knee During The National Anthem

Forget about the judgments and criticisms, and remember the true bravery of self expression.

The Courage Behind Taking A Knee During The National Anthem

It often fascinates me what sort of topics the news highlights from week to week or month to month, with topics varying from Hillary Clinton's hidden pneumonia, or tragedies such as the recent shooting in Oklahoma. Sometimes I wonder why our country focuses so heavily on one topic rather than the other. When I read about athletes Colin Kaepernick and Megan Rapinoe kneeling during the National Anthem, I accepted it, respected their views, and moved on. They felt compelled to kneel in regards to many of the oppressions present in our country; that's their decision. But article after article kept surfacing on the after-effects of their kneeling and I was honestly surprised at the controversy sparked from their actions.

In my American politics class, we are in a New York Times immersion section, where we read around 5 articles per day to keep up with national and international news. My professor has highlighted several of the articles regarding Kaepernick and Rapinoe, with our class discussions leading to talk about patriotism and all its different forms. Kaepernick and Rapinoe have been targeted as "unpatriotic" because of the political culture that has surrounded the tradition of standing in silence during our National Anthem. It was hard to relate to this topic until I read an article in the IndyStar about a student from my high school, Lauren Turner, who knelt during the National Anthem before one of her soccer games. I read in the article that some fans in the stands commented with remarks such as "stupid" and "disrespectful." I was shocked. At a high school soccer game, these were most likely parents in the stands negatively commenting on a brave player's decision to express herself. Just after reading about Lauren's decision to kneel, I felt respect and envy of her for her courage to stand out to her community.

I shared this article with my professor in class and smiled at his comment, "That girl is courageous." How could anyone be targeted as unpatriotic, disrespectful or unintelligent for bringing to light events in our country that affect not only those directly involved, but people in relation everywhere? Shouldn't we all support each other in our efforts to express ourselves and make a difference in the world? It is ignorant to think that something like kneeling during the National Anthem is pointless and stupid. It is truly the most patriotic act to protest, and we should all stand proud together of our fellow citizens. If you've read even one article in the news in the last couple of weeks, this simple action has inspired and encouraged many people. I for one, am happy to know such a confident leader from my high school.

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