A current phase of “Black Power” assertion is being played out on football fields throughout the nation. Players denigrating our flag by kneeling or sitting when our National Anthem is played. This has now transgressed to seven and eight year old children who play Pee Wee football taking a knee during playing of the National Anthem.
The NFL players who are aiming to call attention to their plight of suffering under the yoke of police brutality should stop, and recall the actions of a frail lady, Rosa Parks, who by sitting on a bus, without the glare of cameras, PR agents, reporters or thousands of people viewing her courageous action, stood taller by sitting, than these behemoth football players who kneel, but do nothing to aid communities that could benefit from their assistance or presence. Her actions created more change than the combined actions of all the NFL teams and their allied spokespersons.
At present there are reports the football commissioner may present an edict that players must stand for the Anthem or remain off field during its playing. On the battle field our soldiers, sailors or Marines do not have that option, they are on the field, “the battle” field, facing an enemy whose only desire is to kill them. When they are on their knees, it is to pray that they are not maimed or killed, but this does not deter them from fulfilling their military duties. After battle they are not able to return their sumptuous homes, kiss their wives or hug their children as football players do. Military men give thanks, on their knees; they are praying to see another day.
Those who were never on foreign soil to watch old glory go up the flag pole at morning colors, or stood at attention during evening retreat when colors were lowered, or when the band sounded off and played the “Star Spangled Banner,” and your spine tingled with pride.
We as Americans do not march in lock step to any one thought or ideology, we are free to speak our minds, free to join any church or any political group, but with that freedom comes a responsibility. As Supreme Court Justice Frankfurter wrote, “free speech does not give you the right to shout “fire” in a crowded assembly.” I believe many activists – liberal, Democrat, conservative or Republican, black or white – have come close to breaching that decree. Whatever fault you may find in our society, rather than shouting fire, look for the water hose, put out the fire, then work to correct what inequity you may find.
The motto used by the Knights of Columbus is “It is better to light one candle, then to curse the darkness.” In our own way, let us light that one candle, that will perhaps bring light to our divided country and world.
Charles L. Frattini, Sr.
Councilman, Manchester Township
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