I Will Always Respect The American Flag, Even If You Won't

I Will Always Respect The American Flag, Even If You Won't

No, it's not about my disagreement with your protest; it's about what the flag truly symbolizes.
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Nothing annoys me more than people who disrespect the military. It really isn't always their fault, though. Many people are just generally unaware of how much servicemen and servicewomen sacrifice for us, the general civilian public, so they don't understand what they are degrading.

However, that does not lessen the bitterness that people who associate a flag with fallen brothers and sisters in arms and family feel when people kneel for and generally disrespect the flag. To them, kneeling for and disrespecting the flag is not just a protest against the nation and its ill actions, but rather a disrespect for the lives lost defending that flag and its rights.

My issue is not with the reason for the protest, rather it is with the unintended consequences.

I am POSITIVE that those who kneel during the National Anthem in front of the flag and disrespect it have never seen one being presented to the weeping family of a dead soldier. They have never stood at a funeral and heard "Taps" being played by fellow servicemen. They have never felt a 21-gun salute rattle their bones.

My first semester at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, I was blessed with being able to work on a project concerning PTSD in veterans and possible solutions to this widespread reaction. I was blessed enough to be able to interview active and retired service members with PTSD or that have experience with PTSD. Talking to them was the most eye-opening experience I have ever had. I listened to their harrowing stories from their conflicts while deployed and their struggles once they returned home.

I was completely moved not only by their bravery and resilience but also by their unwavering willingness to return in a heartbeat to defend those back in the States. They even explicitly mentioned returning to defend those who had views different than theirs, especially concerning this kneeling matter, solely because freedom of speech and expression are two of the essential pillars the USA was built upon.

The issue is most people don't understand what the flag really means. It’s easy to view it simplistically and say that when one kneels for the flag they are just kneeling to show their revolt for the general mistreatment of their race by the nation. However, they do not realize that to the large military population of the USA it means much more. It means that you are disregarding their friends who gave the ultimate sacrifice and the families that have received a folded flag in remembrance of their deceased loved ones.

I understand your right to peacefully protest, and I support that right, just as those who are, have been and will be overseas support that right. That’s why they signed up. They want to give all of us that are privileged enough to be citizens of the USA the opportunity to do whatever we want within humane limits. And that includes the right to peacefully protest. Anything.

However, I personally will never partake in this form of protest regardless of how strongly I feel for the cause behind it because I cannot support actions that hurt those who have given their all for us.

Cover Image Credit: Skeeze / Pixabay

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As A Victim Of Sexual Abuse, Painting '#MeToo' On A WWII Statue Is Taking The Movement TOO Far

There is a line you should never cross and that is it.

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The famous picture of the sailor kissing a woman was taken right on V-J Day, when Japan surrendered to the U.S. in World War II. For decades it was seen as a representation of how excited and relieved everyone was at the end of the war.

The picture touched the hearts of thousands as you could feel the overwhelming amounts of joy that came from the snap of the camera. While the woman in the picture died back in 2016 due to a struggle with pneumonia, the sailor just recently died on Feb. 17, 2019 at the age of 95.

Most people saw it as both a heartbreak and heartwarming that the couple that was once photographed were now together.

Other people saw differently.

There is a statue made of the picture that resides in Sarasota, Florida. Police found early Tuesday morning of Feb. 19, two days after the sailor's death, that someone had spray-painted #MeToo on the statue's leg in bright red.

As a woman, I strongly encourage those who have been sexually assaulted/abused in any way shape or form, to voice themselves in the best way they can. To have the opportunity to voice what they went through without being afraid. As a woman who has also been a victim of sexual assault and has been quiet for many years...

This act of vandalism makes me sick.

While the woman that was kissed by the sailor was purely kissed on impulse, she had stated in an interview with 'The New York Times' that, "It wasn't a romantic event. It was just an event of 'thank God the war is over.'"

People were celebrating and, as a sailor, that man was so over the moon about the war being over that he found the nearest woman to celebrate with.

While I don't condone that situation, I understand both the reason behind it as well as the meaning behind the photo. I understand that, while it wasn't an intended kiss, it was a way of showcasing relief. To stick #MeToo on a statue of a representation of freedom is not the right way to bring awareness of sexual abuse.

It gives those the wrong idea of why the #MeToo movement was started. It started as a way for victims of sexual abuse to share their stories. To share with the world that they are not alone.

It helped me realize I wasn't alone.

But the movement, soon after it started, became a fad that turned wrong. People were using it in the wrong context and started using it negatively instead of as an outlet for women and men to share their horrific experiences of sexual assault.

That statue has been up for years. To wait until the sailor passed away was not only rude but entirely disrespectful. The family of that sailor is currently in mourning. On top of it, it's taking away from the meaning behind the photo/statue. World War II was one of the darkest, scariest events in — not just our American history — but the world's as well.

Sexual abuse is a touchy matter, I encourage everyone to stand up for what's right. But to vandalize a statue of one of the most relieving days in America's history is an act that was unnecessary and doesn't get the point of #MeToo across in the way it should. If anything, it's giving people a reason not to listen. To protest and bring attention to something, you want to gather the right attention.

This was not gathering the right attention.

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I'm An Education Major Because I Know Firsthand That Teachers Can Make All The Difference In The World

"You're my teacher, but I need you to be so much more than that."

cpabel
cpabel
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This is my third semester student teaching in an elementary school classroom.

It has been an absolute honor and joy to work with elementary age students. They are so full of excitement, energy, curiosity, and ambition. It's such a breath of fresh air to be around these children and help them learn, grow, and develop into who they will eventually become one day. Going into this experience, I knew that I was going to be making a difference.... but I didn't know how much of an impact I would make on some of my students.

Growing up, I was very fortunate, loved, and cared for. I never had to wonder where my next meal was coming from or when I would see my parents again.

Unfortunately, this is not the reality that a lot of my students live in. They live in my nightmare.

There have been several times that I have arrived to my school to see a child crying, absent from school, or secluding themselves. My first semester student teaching, I didn't think much of this. It's not abnormal for children to cry over spilled milk or to seclude themselves from their friends because they've had a fight.

These inferences were far from the truth. These children are living a life that I could not even begin to understand.

At the beginning of this semester, I had a student say to me: "You're my teacher, but I need you to be so much more than that." When this student said this to me, I said yes of course and that I'll do everything to help her. Little did I know, there was so much I didn't understand in that one sentence. After a few weeks, I learned that this little girl was being raised by her elderly grandmother because her father had committed suicide and her mother was so high on drugs that she couldn't even take care of herself and was in and out of jail.

Wow. No child deserves to start their life off this way or live this way. What can I do? How can I help? How can I make a difference?

Being a teacher is so much more than just teaching students how to add/subtract, read, or complete a science project. You're teaching children to someday become young, knowledgable, and responsible adults. But how can we do this if they don't even have responsible adult figures in their life at home? It's so important to be more than just this child's teacher. If you gain their respect and trust, you can make all the difference in their life.

This student and I had created a bond. For some reason unknown to me, she gravitated towards me as soon as I stepped in the classroom. The first few weeks we made small talk, but in recent weeks, she has told me that she feels alone. She feels unloved. She feels responsible for her dad's death and her mom's pain.

Talk about having your heart ripped out of your chest.

I hid my tears. I didn't dare cry in front of her. I stayed strong. I want to be a rock in her life. I want to remain stable and help her through her pain. I want to make school an enjoyable and safe environment for her. I want to see her succeed. I want to see her make meaningful and great friends. I want to see her blossom and overcome the struggles that she has endured in her short ten years of life. Being a teacher is such a wonderful experience, but it definitely is trying and hard. When you see a child, treat them like the beautiful souls that they are. You may not have a single clue in this world what they're going through at home.

They may be stronger and more mature than you are as an adult. Be kind. Love one another. Make a difference.


cpabel
cpabel

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