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As America continues to slide socially, politically and economically, it comes as no surprise to me that someone has chosen to “disrespect” our national anthem.

I was raised to stand and honor the anthem. It’s a time-honored tradition that I will do until my last breath. In my house, “Old Glory” is held with great affection and love, and we cling to it, and honor our flag and the National Anthem.

As Memorial Day approaches, I find it even more offensive to do otherwise.

But, because of all that our flag stands for, and the freedom it signifies, ironically, it allows for the freedom to kneel or not stand, as the anthem is played. And as the red, white and blue flies high, people can protest “because” of what countless men and women did in the past, to protect that right.

I’m not here to “argue” someone’s right to protest, but rather is this the right way to protest? When not showing proper respect to our nation’s greatest symbol of freedom, I believe they’re showing a level of disrespect to those who have sacrificed so much for that very freedom to protest in that way.

I believe they’re dancing on the graves of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives so that protests like this can be done freely and without recourse (try it in China sometime). I believe it’s truly offensive to those who have served, and especially those lost in battle and their families, those without limbs, or cognitive ability, that there must be a more respectful way to protest what they perceive as social injustice.

I don’t want their right to protest taken away, but truly believe weighing the damage, and specifically weigh the collateral damage to protest in this way causes. Sorry, but the method is completely and outrightly offensive to this American.  It’s why I left working with professional athletes and teams.

These protests will not cause me to waiver, but rather cause my patriotism to run deeper and stronger as an American. I will now stand a little taller and remain standing a little longer after the anthem is played. I will sing a little louder and prouder. Even possibly, I will find a tear welling in the corner of my eye, as I humbly and solemnly honor all those who have sacrificed for every freedom we enjoy in this imperfect, yet greatest nation in all of history, The United States of America.

So, protest as you chose, you have that right, but do it with full knowledge that the blood of every veteran runs through the red stripes of that flag, and that their courage and valor runs through those 50, blue-encased white stars, and that their pure sacrifice is in every white stripe perfectly placed on that flag…the flag of the United Stated of America.