The leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization characterized professional athletes and other Americans who fail to show respect for the national anthem as “misguided and ungrateful.”
American Legion National Commander Denise H. Rohan lamented the politicization of what used to be a display of unity at NFL games and other sporting events throughout the country.
“The American Legion is one of the original architects of the U.S. Flag Code,” said Rohan, a U.S Army veteran. “That code was produced by 69 patriotic, fraternal civic and military organizations in 1923. It included members of all political parties, big labor, industry, and minorities. The code calls on all present to stand at attention while the anthem is played. It wasn’t political when it was written and it shouldn’t be political today. Having a right to do something, does not make it the right thing to do. We salute Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva, who stood alone respecting the flag as his teammates stayed in their locker room. NASCAR also deserves credit for their support of our anthem. There are many ways to protest, but the national anthem should be our moment to stand together as one UNITED States of America.”
With a current membership of two million wartime veterans, The American Legion, www.legion.org, was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through nearly 13,000 posts across the nation.