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Thursday, October 26, 2017
Take a knee – in respect

To the editor,

Roger Goodell is correct, of course, that Americans – NFL players included – should show proper respect during the playing of the national anthem, and salute the flag as appropriate. There was a time, however when flying the flag upside down was a signal of distress. Section 8a of the United States Flag Code states, “The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.”

A similar value applies today to those who choose to kneel during the national anthem at football games. It’s meant to call the nation’s attention to the extreme danger to life and property from racial injustice and the seemingly wanton killing of black men by (usually white) law enforcement officers.

It is precisely the great honor we accord the national anthem – and the American flag it celebrates – that gives such a contrary action as kneeling during the anthem its power as a signal of distress. Rather than a show of disrespect, Colin Kaepernick’s knee is a cry for the justice that is the promise of America as a nation of laws.

George Duncan

Peterborough