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Guest column: For love of country, teach children to stand

America is a melting pot of different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs, and nationalities.

The things that have bound all these differences together is love for this country along with the freedoms, and the opportunities that abound. Our patriotism has led us through the darkest times. America was created due to the love of the things held dear in the lyrics of our national anthem. We once stood so proudly, suffused with love of country, when our colors were raised. Now, kneeling or sitting during the anthem seems to get more attention than those who fought and died for our right to protest.
The Naturalization Oath of Allegiance that an immigrant is required to take in order to become a U.S. citizen includes the statement “I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…” Let’s carefully absorb the meaning of “I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” Those of us who were so incredibly blessed to have been born here are not required to take an oath. Instead, what we often take is for granted— all the benefits of our births on this soil.
Now let’s ask, for those of us who are not required to take an oath and have not served in our military—just how have we, and how can we “bear true faith and allegiance to the same?” I suggest that there is not a more appropriate nor a more effortless time to profess these values than when we open a meeting or an event with our national anthem or a pledge to our flag.
I further suggest that to show disrespect to our country during these occasions to protest any cause is a denunciation of the very freedoms that permit us to make that protest. I believe in our First Amendment rights. I believe in the peaceful right to protest. I do not agree that these have to occur as our
flag is presented, but those who kneel have learned that they can get more attention by doing so. Even though it has been stated that these are not protests against those who fight for our country, it is a direct symbol of what they fight for. Let us simply not use the sanctity of these far too rare moments to make that protest.
The men and women who wear our flag on their uniform daily, who take up arms to protect our freedom, who love our country so dearly they walk into a battlefield to protect it, deserve honor and respect. The Armed Forces and our Veterans have fought for our flag, and over 1.2 million have died for our flag, the least we now can do is stand to honor them.
Americans have always been prepared to pick up and fight for the ideals we hold dear. The flag is a symbol of our freedoms and our rights, the American dream and those who have died to allow us to fully partake of what our Founding Fathers dreamed of. All of these things deserve respect.
Our history is rooted in patriotism. That patriotism is most ignited, and we most commonly come together when our country is in crises. We become stronger. We know that if we unite, there is little that can conquer us. There are so many things today that seem to divide us. Let’s not allow the celebratory moments of our country and our freedom to drive us. Let’s come together when we are not in a crisis. Let’s come together as our flag and our country are celebrated.
Let’s please teach our children to stand.

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Chuck Edwards is a state senator from Hendersonville.