I was texting an old coworker today when she asked me, “You’d kneel wouldn’t you?” I understood what she was asking. And as I politely said, “I will stand for the flag and kneel for the cross,” she was pretty upset about it. I don’t talk much about politics, I really hate it. But, I have the ability to use this platform, a window of opportunity, for good and so I wanted to do that.

I am an American. I love being an American. Yes, there are some things in this world, in America that I don’t agree with, that I don’t understand. But, the beauty of America is the fact that I have the ability to form my opinion – right or wrong – and that is my right. I couldn’t begin to know how it feels to be a woman in a country where I am not allowed to voice my pleasure or displeasure about something.

Here is my stance about the National Anthem and why I will stand.

First: I did my research.

The NFL world stood in unity on Sunday and Monday in regards to Trump’s comment. The kneeling that Trump talked about is separate from the unity/solidarity stand the NFL took. The kneeling started last season when Kaepernick, the 49ers QB, wanted to bring to focus the oppression of black people in the US. The “protest” in the NFL instead focuses on the NFL players’ First Amendment right – the right they have whether or not they are being paid to play football and the stand to unify this country. The linking of arms is not a kneel down.

Second: I researched more of our history.

The protests of the oppression of colored people. There is oppression. There was oppression. No matter where you look that will be true. The Star Spangled Banner was penned during the War of 1812. In the midst of the protests of slavery. The author of the poem was not really known as anti-slavery. True. But, just because someone was once one thing, doesn’t mean they cannot be someone different, someone better.

First Amendment. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. We, as American citizens, have the right to protest peacefully. I can’t tell someone their views are right or wrong. However, I can politely respect that they have their own views.

The Star Spangled Banner. See my point about oppression above. The song, which was originally written in 1814 is talked about here, where they write how Key wrote the poem still smarting from the beef he had with the Colonial Marines (a group of freed black men who beat him in battle). But, if you read the entire poem it speaks of how American’s didn’t bow down and fought for their freedom from a British war ship. It speaks of a flag, battered and torn, still waving in the air as the dust settled on Fort McHenry. After 25 hours of nonstop chaos from the British, Americans in unity and bravery stood and fought for their freedom.

Third: I have the right to form my own opinion.

The minute POTUS was elected hate rang out through the country. My stand was to love my neighbor and stand in unity instead of spewing hate between opposite parties. As hatred and anger reigned down from this old coworker because of my beliefs I realized, the very rights she claims should allow the NFL players to take a knee is the very right she is upset that I am using.

I will always stand with my hand on my heart as my country’s National Anthem is played. I don’t choose to stand because it’s a flag, or because others are doing it, or because I’m told I must. Rather, I stand because I respect the history behind it. The very history that others are trying to tear down. I respect the battles won and lost. The blood that was shed. I respect the lives past and present that are put on the line so that I can wake up every morning free to come and go as I please.

If people choose to feel that I have no backbone because I continue to stand, so be it. And that is my right. Just like it is the right of Jerry Jones and the Cowboys to take a knee before the National Anthem is played. Just like it is the right of Michael and Martellus Bennett to sit out of the National Anthem. Just like it is the right of Colin Kaepernick to kneel as the National Anthem is played. I don’t have to like what they are doing. Or believe in what they are doing. But, as a human being with a heart, I can respect their First Amendment right. Right or wrong.

I have lost friends in the nine months that POTUS has become President all because I choose to make a difference without hate and anger. I may have lost another. But, that’s okay. If people who want to have any relationship with me cannot respect opinions and beliefs that isn’t on me. That is on them. And quite frankly, I don’t need that in my life.

I choose to stand because it is my right as an American. I choose to stand in respect to those who have allowed me to continue that right. xoxo