Editor’s note: The opinions below are the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.
To the Editor:
On Aug. 1, 1963, President John F Kennedy stood before the graduating class at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland and stated: “I can imagine a no more rewarding career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.’
President Kennedy added “…if I were a young man in 1963 I can imagine no place to be better than right here at this Academy, or at West Point, or in the Air Force, or in some other place beginning a career of service to the United States.”
With this thought in mind, I believe everyone can agree and realize that freedom is not free. I think we can also agree that as a nation, we are always striving to become a more perfect union.
Yet, for over a year, I have watched the NFL fumble (pun intended) through the meandering issue of players protesting the flag and/or anthem and I wonder why it is that only the Republican Party seems to address the issue head on, and ultimately understand, that we must stand together as a nation, for this one moment, as requested.
After all, we are all in this together and we all must continue to work towards a more perfect union…together.
The Democrats have been woefully silent, in my opinion, and yet I cannot understand why. We have many in our party who have served with great distinction, be it Harry Truman in World War I, John F Kennedy in World War II, Jim Webb and Chuck Robb during Vietnam, up through and including present day conflicts.
As no prominent Democrats, that I have seen, have come forward to address the issue and ask all players to stand in solidarity for our armed forces and nation, then this relatively obscure Democrat and author will have to suffice for the moment.
I am all for professional players of any sport using their platform for any and all charities, causes and issues they feel strongly about.
But, to paraphrase the great Lakota Holy Man Black Elk, I have learned this lesson from the high hill of my old age that there is truly a time and place for everything, and I can see no justifiable reason why it would be the one moment in the stadium when the flag is raised and we pay respect to everything we have endured together as a nation and all those who make it possible.
Republicans, Democrats and every other political stripe should be able to acknowledge this without fear of reprisal.
Will Durant famously stated, “No great nation was ever conquered from without until it had destroyed itself from within.”
If as a nation, we cannot come together and at least agree on this one simple point, then perhaps there is a very real truth to Durant’s prophecy.
Wayne B. Marek
Wayne B. Marek served on the Morris Plains Board of Education from 2009-2013 and ran for state Assembly as a Democrat in the 26th District in 2015.