Team should visit vets to learn about sacrifice

Teens should meet vets before kneeling
I have been a military spouse for almost 19 years. I have two biracial children, both children of an immigrant father. I have heard the comments, debated the ignorance and always raised my children to have spirits that outshine the color of their skin.
I understand that people don’t understand. I normally take protests with a grain of salt because I think the best thing about this country is that we are able to stand on the street and say what we don’t like about it. I support the U.S. Constitution, and the Constitution states that we have freedom of speech and the right to peacefully assemble.
I also consider myself politically liberal, an activist and an advocate for many causes. But when the National Anthem plays, I stand. I stand because you can’t exercise your First Amendment right and disrespect where it came from at the same time. This trend of kneeling isn’t bringing attention to social injustice or discrimination. It’s only further putting a wedge in an already-divided nation. I’m all for a good protest, but I also remember why I have that right.
Niskayuna High School: Operation At Ease would like to cordially invite your football team, cheer squad and coaches to come to our training facility in Rotterdam and meet our veterans. We would like to make sure they truly understand what the impact of taking a knee has had on the veteran community, the very demographic of people who have made it possible for them to have that choice.
I promise it to be a respectful and educational gathering. Because if anyone understands discrimination, it’s a combat veteran with an invisible disability. Unfortunately, it’s a daily occurrence in this country. I want your players to know that taking a knee is just that. It’s just sitting down.
I’m someone who also woke up one morning tired and frustrated and thought “It’s my job to be a voice,” so I literally made it my job. I believe you have a good team, with brave kids who are interested in impacting our community and our world. I would like the opportunity to show them what it’s like to do that while standing up.
Joni Bonilla
The writer is president of Operation At Ease Inc.

Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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