Veterans weigh in on NFL national anthem protests

KHOU 11 reporter Janelle Bludau spoke to veterans on Monday to get their perspective and hear how they feel about NFL players choosing to kneel during the National Anthem.

HOUSTON - Houston Veterans have their own reactions on the recent controversy of NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem.

“We all kneel. We kneel to our God and our Lord. And we stand for the National Anthem," said National Guard Veteran Ben Rivera.

For Rivera, it’s as simple as that.

“We have lost a lot of people that died for this country. We need to respect that," he said. 

While sitting around a table at American Legion Post 490 on Monday, a group of veterans explained what the National Anthem means to them.

“I just get a different feeling when I hear it," said Navy and Coast Guard Veteran John Evans.

“We should stand with our hand over heart. Respect our flag and respect our country," said Army Veteran Johnny Lindstrom.

For them, it’s easy.

“You either salute, or you put your hand over your heart. You stay quiet. It’s not a time to make a stand about anything else," said Army Veteran Jerry Blaylock.

Anything else is disrespect.

“The Army, the Navy, the Coast Guard, the Marines and the Air Force, standing at attention, holding their weapons, ready to protect them. They’re kneeling while these guys are standing," said Evans.

About 20 miles north, standing around a different table, was a group of veterans who spoke to us about how they feel.

Two of the men are film students, and they, too, sacrificed for our country.

Army veteran Tony Garcia served in Desert Storm and Kuwait.

“As you serve, you learn to respect our country," said Garcia.

He believes kneeling during the national anthem is disrespectful, but it’s a right.

“Because of what we fought for. So if that’s how they decide to do it, that’s on them, but there’s a repercussion to that," he said.

David Martin, an Army veteran, said he feels the same.

“Disrespectful? Yeah i think it is, but it’s their right. I also think it’s their right," he said. 

Navy veteran Mark Hinton says he wouldn’t kneel, but he understands the importance of the message, and just wishes it could be done better.

“I just feel like if everyone came together, and they all had just one certain message, let’s all get that message out, rather than have some people doing it, some people not doing it," he said. 

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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