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2017-10-04 / Editorial

To stand or to kneel: That is the question

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, ensuring that there is no prohibition on the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.

T he national controversy of players kneeling or sitting during the playing of the National Anthem has brought out many differing opinions. And we are startled by how many people would totally disregard the First Amendment by saying the NFL players should be fired or removed from the team and the stadium.

One World War II veteran took in knee during the playing of the National Anthem in support of the players and the First Amendment.

Editor Emeritus Tim Giago did two tours of duty, 1952 and 1953, in Korea during the Korean War. He wrote on Facebook that he stands and salutes the flag to honor many of his friends and comrades who gave their lives in Korea to ensure that the American people would continue to have the basic right to express their freedom of speech and expression under the guarantees of the First Amendment.

Donald Trump threw gasoline on the fire by denouncing the patriotism of the protestors even though many of those taking a knee were veterans of the Gulf War and the War in Afghanistan.

We should ask ourselves why it is necessary to play or sing the National Anthem at any sporting event. There are those who feel that the lyrics in the Anthem, “The rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air” are indicative of war rather than peace. Some of them wish that “America the Beautiful” would replace the Anthem. This song paints a picture of America about the beauty of the land “from sea to shining sea.”

All of these arguments can, and should, be open for debate. On this topic no one is “all right” or “all wrong.” There is a lot of gray area in the middle and as Americans we should all seek the middle road. No one in the national media wrote about the Native Americans who refused to stand for the Anthem in the 1970s. At one LNI game in Rapid City an entire row of Native Americans refused to stand and when Severt Young Bear stepped on the floor next and sang the Sioux National Anthem, many of the white spectators never stood.

So we guess it amounts to whose ox is being gored. But as for the management of Native Sun News Today, we stand with our Editor Emeritus and honor the flag and the Anthem by supporting the rights of the NFL players to refuse to stand for racism and the killing of young black men at the hands of the police. They have this right under the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution and that is the American way.

(Contact the Editorial Board of Native Sun News Today at nativesunnews.today)

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