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Your Response to Dear Mr. Kaepernick

Photo, AP

Yesterday, we shared a piece on Militaryspouse.com from the perspective of a military spouse who was really offended by Colin Kaepernick’s recent controversial display on the football field when he refused to stand during the national anthem (read more here.)

We received so much feedback on our Facebook from this piece and felt that it would be in the best interest of our audience to share some of those comments in order to allow everyone the chance to hear different perspectives from both sides of the argument. We like to keep it real here at military spouse, and this is a major issue that is affecting our thoughts and conversations in our community – so let’s talk about it.

We would love to hear your insightful additions and we are so thankful for those of you who have opened the discussion and shared your own thoughts so far!

“…if the whole point is that our spouses are fighting for his right to peaceful protest, then let him. You don’t have to agree with what he’s protesting, but he has the right to do so. I just so happen to agree with him but I just am so tired of people talking about how the military is fighting for his right to do this then condemning him for doing it at the same time. Disagree fine, but it’s kind of hypocritical to say he shouldn’t be doing it or its disrespectful to exercise his rights. Just my thoughts.” – Jessica P.

“Let’s not forget in the past seasons he did indeed stand for the national anthem. This is his first season not standing.. So yes it’s a shocker to everyone. It may be rather disrespectful to a lot of people because they see it as one way & one way only.. To go about it the way he has chosen to show his support for the movement.. But he figured why not take his stand to the spot light & let the movement shine more with him doing this publicly at a game where he knew it would get beyond plenty attention.” – Brooke W.

“I support him! My husband serves and my dad is a vet. He explained his reason and I respect it. Many vets and active duty stand by him also.” – Tiffany N.

This whole article was about ones view on the actions of one individual. This comes down to the lack of understand of one element here. The flag represents what this nation stands for, (Colin thinks his stand is to show that to be incorrect) I get that. However, it goes much much goes much deeper…because this military was created by individuals that have faith and support and stand with integrity and respectability of that flag, and that flag represents the diligence of our countrymen to keep it and all of us then and now safe. It represents the honor and valor that they serve and fought over. It is very personal to each and every American or at least it should be. To wash it away with, “Hey, it’s his right,” is pushing aside all the real reasons a military veteran and current military members put that uniform on each and every day. It’s about valor, about life, it’s about respecting and supporting others. Colin says that’s not happening, he’s wrong! Can we do better? Certainly…This stance he’s trying to make here is viable in a sense, this however, is the wrong forum to present it.” – Rebecca J.

“Not standing for the national anthem is not disrespect. It is a symbol, a piece of cloth. It does not feel pain and it does not care what you do when it is present. You have a right to salute it, stand when it passes, whatever you want. The flag does not give us the right to stand or sit when it is present. The Constitution gives us that right.” – Linda J.

“I clicked on it and read Amber’s letter and it is a wonderful and true letter and I’ve been there when my husband was deployed while we were expecting our second child and he didn’t meet her until she was 5 months old but, that’s what he signed up for and Thank God for men and women like him because without them we wouldn’t have these freedoms that we so enjoy. So go ahead, Sir, stand up or sit down for what you believe and our Military will keep those freedoms intact!!!” – Connie T. 

“…the thing about our rights is we don’t have to earn them, also the people that defend them made that decision on their own. His sitting down had nothing to do with trying to disrespect the military. I’m sorry, but not agreeing with this country and what is going on is not hand in hand with disrespecting the military. Another thing is that the first amendment is the most important one. It’s the one that really, truly makes us free. He didn’t do anything to harm anyone all he did was sit down to make a point. You don’t have to agree with why he did it, but you do have to accept it as one of his rights.” – Diana B. 

“I was a military wife and went through the same experiences. It was a job my husband chose to do and I felt like a single mom many times, but I also chose that life. What this player is doing is not disrespecting the military. Has nothing to do with the military. If you read the reasons why he’s not standing you should agree with him unless you don’t see a problem with the issues he’s protesting. And I always stand for the flag, but I understand why he doesn’t .” – Patricia D. 

“To each their own. I feel that Kaepernick has every right to protest the way he sees fit. I’m not black. I literally have no clue what it’s like to be black in this country and if he’s seeing injustice in his community who am I to tell him what to do and how to feel. You don’t tell someone who had a bad day, “Yeah, well, mine was worse so you have no right to complain.” I don’t feel disrespected, my husband doesn’t feel disrespected…” – Sara B.

“Thank you, I understand everyone has different opinions, and I can see why people would think it was a sign of disrespect. However, he has now given a full interview sharing what his thoughts behind this PEACEFUL protest attempt is, and it’s not negative in any way. It’s his right to choose to stand (or in his case not stand) for the national anthem, so why criticize him so much for it. He’s lost endorsements for doing something he feels is right in an attempt to potentially help better our nation, so isn’t he sacrificing something too? He’s putting his career in jeopardy to stand up for his beliefs, I kind of thought that’s what our military community supports in the people of the country we serve.” – Dana G.  

I am deployed. I left my son at 6 months old. I missed his first birthday. His major milestones and I SUPPORT his right to sit and protest the injustices of our country.. It doesn’t make him un-American or unpatriotic for wanting better for our country…Please don’t try to speak for all of us soldiers because we defend his right to protest.” – Michelle K. 

“Thank you for this. I served 8 years and my husband is currently deployed. I support why he is sitting. It has nothing to do with the Military. He said that he means no disrespect to the Military. I don’t no why people keep adding fuel to it. I want change in this country just like a lot of other people. I don’t want my kids growing up in a hate filled world.” – LaTrecia J.

“But isn’t that the point of freedom? He can choose to sit because he is free to and we aren’t living in a country run by a dictatorship. The military signed up to fight and die for the right to freedom of decision, expression, etc. and it’s more disrespectful to the military and its members if we try to take away people’s freedoms in the smallest of ways. I think it’s time we put away our offense at this situation, and listen to what he’s actually protesting. The big picture has been lost here.” – Carly T. 

I am not offended in the least as a spouse. It’s his right, he is peacefully protesting. We are a country founded on the principal of being free, how can we judge how he chooses to display it? And honestly it’s working. Everyone is talking about it, hopefully people can stop focusing on him but more about the problem he is advocating for. This picture I posted is true. In stadiums if the national anthem comes on people don’t stop ordering their food or beer to put their hand over their heart, just because he is on the field doesn’t mean it’s any different then those people. And honestly it’s not a draft, our spouse volunteered, we chose to come along. It’s all about choices, to complain about moving and uprooting your family, then get out. It’s very simple. To say we are better, more entitled or more patriotic than other Americans really isn’t fair.” – Lelah O. 

I don’t agree with this at all. It’s not about armed forces or disrespecting our service men and women, which he has said but people will still get butt hurt because they want it to be about them. My boyfriend is serving but I can tell the difference in this protest because I am black first. He is standing up for those who continuously are stepped on. Many service members respect him for using his voice because they are aware of the REAL reason for his actions. He has explained why he did what he did and people refuse to acknowledge so but will complain for reason that are no longer applicable since he addressed them in the first place.” – Alexis J. 

“My husband too is serving his/our country and has been for 18 years. I don’t necessarily agree with this article and it makes me sad to have seen it written in such a manner as to not take a moment to understand WHY Mr. Kapernick is choosing to sit/ take a knee. See I have two fears in MY life, one is that my active duty husband could possibly lose his life while serving this country and two, that my sons could fall victim to police brutality or inequality if faced with a judicial presence. I pray that neither be the case, but see this is where I thank God that my husband chose to fight for his country. He fights for the rights of the ones who feel like there is wrong being done and wants to make it right. Mr. Kapernick is not choosing to be violent he is simply stating “why stand during a song that still makes reference to oppression.” Why not raise awareness to the issues faced in this country OUR country. So while I can sympathize with the writer of this article who was very articulate in her approach, I want to be sure we don’t miss the message behind why her husband, my husband, and many other soldiers are fighting. We have gone through several PCS moves and while my husband doesn’t throw tantrums either, I feel slighted that maybe the writer was making an inference that Kapernick is? That maybe by chance he doesn’t have a reason based on history and recent events to finally speak up and say enough is enough. I hope that not to be the case. I hope many others stand with him to ensure the Message remains the Message and not get lost in a sea of articulate words and reasons as to why in someone’s opinion they think he is wrong in his actions.” – Akisha A.

“Ok, so here’s the thing: I’m a Navy veteran and spouse. I didn’t serve my enlistment, and my husband doesn’t serve his, as a “we did this thing so you owe us something out of respect” attitude. What Kaepernick is doing has ZERO to do with the military, besides the fact that it DOES have something to do with the African American members of our military. He’s entitled to sit down, kneel down, whatever he likes – heck, he can dance a jig if he so cares. My service, my husband’s service, and all veterans served not so that we can have people kowtow to our preference. You can’t say, Oh, we have sacrificed for you to do this…BUT. There’s no BUT. There’s only, if you want to do it, high five to you for exercising your rights. Furthermore, this is not about the military in any way. He’s not protesting the military. He’s using a silent gesture to show solidarity with a cause he supports. A cause that, as a Caucasian female, I support even if I don’t have the experiences that my African American brothers and sisters have had. We take everything so personally, and we need to stop and think…perhaps this Them vs Us attitude is part of the problem in the world. There are Native Americans who are protesting a pipeline being introduced when they can’t even get CLEAN WATER to give their children. There are veterans committing suicide at a rate of 22 per day (though I’ve read recently it may have thankfully dropped a bit). There are people who are still without clean water in Flint Michigan. I could go on and on and on. There are FAR MORE IMPORTANT things going on in this world, weighty issues we should be discussing and trying to resolve, instead of sitting here getting hurt feelings over an assumed slight that is COMPLETELY off base. Kaepernick can do what he wants, and you can do what you want. But don’t wield your spouse’s service like some sort of sword of sacrifice to attack those who DARE to do exercise rights they get whether or not you like it. This was not a military issue, and making it one makes us look petty and like we do what we do for an accolade.” – Emily B.

Love the responses in support of a man’s right to sit during the National Anthem. It shows that people are using their heads instead of drinking the Kool-Aid. I’m glad the tide is shifting away from the attitude and tone of the above article. It’s definitely time to eliminate the rhetoric of “My spouse fights so that you can have the freedom to…” It’s time to eliminate the “my life is so hard you should be bowing at my feet while you enjoy the freedoms of this country.” A man should not be condemned for exercising his rights and pissing you off. We make our choices to live this life and we should allow others to live theirs without judgement.” – Melissa C.

Again, Military Spouse respects both sides of discussion and encourages positive conversation between all women and men in our community. Thank you for respecting each other! 

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