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Why is mainstream America upset when football players don’t stand for our National Anthem? Here’s why: the flag stands for our land and our people. It represents our highest principles, our way of life and our heritage, including the sacrifice of those who bled and died for our freedom.

In saluting the flag, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over their heart, and men with head cover remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge. These are time-honored, patriotic traditions.

The 50 stars (the states) and 13 stripes (the original colonies) are symbolized on the flag. The colors are also symbolic; red represents hardiness and valor, white represents purity and innocence and blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

In 1814, U.S. soldiers at Fort McHenry raised a huge American flag to celebrate an important victory over British forces during the War of 1812. The sight of those “broad stripes and bright stars” inspired Francis Scott Key to write a song that eventually became America’s national anthem in 1931.

In 1892, the flag inspired James Upham and Francis Bellamy to write the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge received official recognition by Congress during 1942, and it was included in the U.S. Flag Code. Congress added the phrase “under God” in 1954.

Many have died under, and for, this flag. It’s honorable to respect it.

Michael Imhof

Aurora, Ill.

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