Let me start by saying: YES, I STAND. However, do I support by fellow black veterans that don't: YES. Black veterans are between a rock and a hard place in America. On one hand, we put our lives on the line for this country. Some of us have killed in the name of freedom. Freedom...on the other hand is something that African Americans are still fighting for in the country since we were bought to America. So what do black veterans do in America?
Since kneeling during the National Anthem became a thing, white America has been outraged. Media articles were full of "How dare those ungrateful negroes disrespect our flag! If you don't like it here you can leave. Go back to Africa". Black America is angry because White America doesn't understand why black people are so angry. Instead of acknowledging the hardships African Americans go through, some of our Caucasian have the "privilege" of ignoring it because it doesn't happen to them.
Here the honest truth: as soon as I take my military uniform off, I'm just another black dude. The conversation does from "thank you for your service" to "he's a thug" within the same sentence. I've had people buy me drinks at airports, and I've had women clutch their purse as I walk by. In both cases "This is America".
No matter what the media or social media tells you, black people are kneeling because of the injustices being done to African Americans. Black veterans have faced many of those injustices. Seeing black people get murdered by police, and black children not being able to graduate because of their hair really stings. As a black veteran there is an internal battle: be an Uncle Tom, or Black Panther?
Uncle Tom Veteran: do I ignore what is going on to my people and sing the National Anthem at the top of my lungs? After all, I joined the military to make a better life for myself. Yea I'm black, but I'm not one of "those" black people. I joined the military and now I'm treated fair and now I have the "privilege" of not being harassed thanks to my uniform.
Black Panther Veteran: I don't care if I'm in the military or not, I'm black first. I can't believe that this is happening to us still. I feel like a disgrace just wearing this American flag on my shoulder. I'm not standing for the Anthem, I gotta stick with my people on this one.
Black veterans have an obligation to protect America from terrorist both foreign and domestic. What do we do when we are being terrorized? Police officers are getting paid vacations for killing black people in the streets. Black children are not being allowed to attend school because of the way their hair naturally grows. These are our brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, sons and daughters. It tugs at every thread of our moral fiber.
We love America and everything that it stands for. The best country in the world hands down. A country full of traditions. Unfortunately, racism is a part of that history. When we are born we come out black, not as veterans. When we are done serving in the military we are just black again. So...should black veterans kneel or stand during the anthem? The answer is yes.