Why this veteran is taking a knee

Recently, I tweeted this:

I have more to say about it than a tweet will allow. Here goes.

I served in the Army from the ages of 18 to 22, but, despite being on active duty during the Panama conflict and the first Gulf War, my specialized position as a Military Police K-9 Handler kept me in the United States throughout my enlistment. So, yes, I'm a veteran, but I'm not a combat veteran ... and because of that distinction, I, for many years after my honorable discharge, never truly thought of myself as a "veteran."

Both of my late grandfathers served during World War II. My maternal grandfather was in the 4th Marine Division and experienced heavy combat on Iwo Jima and Saipan. My maternal grandmother lost a brother and a nephew to the Vietnam War. My father served in the Navy on a battleship off the coast of Vietnam, and an older cousin saw major action in the jungle there.

When posting to Facebook on Veterans Day several years ago, I noted that, at the time, I still did not think of myself as a veteran, particularly as compared to those in my family who served in combat. The aforementioned cousin, who continued to serve as both a civilian police officer and a military reservist for decades after the Vietnam War (including deployments to the Middle East during the second Gulf War), responded thusly:

"Jon, you served. That makes you a VETERAN."

His response meant a great deal to me. Only through circumstances beyond my own control did I avoid going into a war zone, but I was willing to, I trained to, and I would have if so ordered. I made the choice to serve my country, and my country chose not to send me into combat ... but I have since come to realize, accept and fully embrace the fact that I am a veteran who served honorably.

I am extremely proud of my time in the Army, and of my family's history of service to the United States. I always feel great pride at the sight of the American flag, and have always stood and saluted when attending an event during which the national anthem was played.

And so it was with no small amount of trepidation and introspection that I composed and sent the tweet shown above ... not only because of my own feelings about duty, honor and service, but because I'm quite certain that the veterans in my family - including my own father, my aforementioned cousin, and, were he still alive, my grandfather the Marine, whose opinion I valued above most others - would be completely disgusted with me for it. And I would understand their disgust. We don't see eye to eye on many things, and I believe they have some horribly misguided social and political views, but they've certainly earned the right to have an opinion on a matter in which veterans are being used like political pawns.

You know who hasn't earned that right? This motherfucker right here:

Donald Trump is a draft-dodging, race-baiting, jingoistic fraud who wraps himself in the flag not because he's a true patriot who would fight and die for his country, but because he is a sick, twisted, self-serving, narcissistic coward who has perfected the art of using racism, anger, fear, hatred and controversy for his own personal gain. Neither he nor anyone in his family has ever served this country. They are a family of grifters, takers and bullshit artists ... Donald Trump chief among them.

Colin Kaepernick and the athletes who have joined with him in taking a knee during the "Star Spangled Banner" are not hateful, anti-American reprobates; they are brave, civic-minded citizens who, at great risk to their careers, their own personal safety, and the safety of their loved ones, are using their First Amendment rights to bring awareness to the very real issues of racial inequality, race-based police brutality, and the need for criminal-justice reform. You don't have to agree with what they're doing, but you do have to be grateful we live in a country whose founding principles are based in part upon their right to do it ... and you do have to realize that many of the veterans who served to defend that right-veterans whom our so-called president likes to invoke and hide behind when attempting to gin up his base—are offended not by people fighting for justice and equality, but by a vile, morally bankrupt, unfit, unqualified, draft-dodging "president" who defiles the presidency with every embarrassing thing he says, who exploits for his own personal gain the flag we served under, and who then claims to speak for us while assuming we support him.

I am heartened by the knowledge that many of us do not.

The President of the United States is charged with defending and protecting the rights of all Americans. When the guy occupying the presidency describes as "fine people" those who marched with white supremacists and as "sons of bitches" the predominately black citizens who are peacefully protesting the well documented injustices perpetrated against their race-and when that President does so for wholly selfish and political reasons rather than any true concern for the greater good of the country he's supposed to serve-then I believe we must all rebuke him in no uncertain terms.

I've heard and read a cacophony of primarily white voices argue that, if Kaepernick and others wish to exercise their First Amendment rights, they should do it at a more "appropriate" time and/or in a more "appropriate" setting. It is a flawed argument for at least two reasons: 1.) A protest that disrupts nothing accomplishes nothing, and 2.) white people don't get to decide when black people can fight for fair and equal treatment-especially when the injustices they're fighting against a.) primarily are perpetrated by white people, and b.) often are matters of life and death.

It saddens me to know that my stance on this issue puts me at odds with some friends and family members, a number of whom are veterans and/or law-enforcement professionals-and it further saddens me that many, if not all, of those same people support Donald Trump-but I am proud nonetheless to join with the many veterans who believe in Kaepernick's right to protest, and in the reasons for which he is doing so.

I am equally proud to join with other veterans who share my belief that Donald Trump is both an embarrassment and a threat to the country we served, and that he least of all is entitled to use our service as a means of political cover.

Originally published at JonZal.com

Contributing Editor: Jon Zal

Jon Zal is a writer and former U.S. Army Military Police K-9 Handler. He blogs at JonZal.com. His Twitter handle is @OfficialJonZal.

// ]]>


  • Mark
    Posted October 12, 2017 1:28 pm 0Likes

    Taking a knee in my book is still humbling and respectful….
    God Bless all those who kneel in our ..
    One nation Under GOD.
    Indivisible with liberty and justice for ALL ..
    And GOD bless ALL our troops standing Kneeling sitting or laying Down… anyone who serves in any form our great country and fights for Justice and equality…

  • dissertation assistance
    Posted October 20, 2017 5:22 am 0Likes

    Can I simply say what a relief to uncover an individual who genuinely understands what
    they are talking about over the internet. You certainly know how to bring an issue to light and make it important.

    More people must look at this and understand this side of the story.
    I can’t believe you are not more popular given that you
    definitely possess the gift. http://write-my-dissertation.net/dissertation-assistance

  • Jeanne
    Posted October 25, 2017 12:21 pm 0Likes

    Everyone laughed trying to imagine ᴡhaqt
    kiund of celebrqtion Mary and Joseph gave for
    Jesus when He was six. Larry questioned, ?I ԝager he preferred the identical sort of toys we like.

  • www.linux.ca
    Posted October 26, 2017 3:13 am 0Likes

    Oг possibly he likes Ƅowling.? Lee continued. ?I heard someone say that whenever you hear thundeг, that signifies that
    Good is bowling in heaven. I guess hes actualⅼy good at it.

  • Siobhan Moloney
    Posted April 4, 2018 7:48 pm 0Likes

    Hi, Good content….Check out this secret way to connect with wealthy or influential people…This secret method works and will probably surprise you: Go to ———> http://scoccl.com/?a=724&c=14146&s1=

  • Adidas NMD Men Women Cream White
    Posted April 23, 2018 5:35 am 0Likes

    I and my buddies appeared to be reading the great pointers located on your web page then quickly came up with an awful feeling I had not thanked the web site owner for those strategies. All of the ladies appeared to be for this reason very interested to read all of them and now have quite simply been loving them. We appreciate you indeed being quite kind and also for using varieties of brilliant themes millions of individuals are really needing to discover. Our own sincere regret for not saying thanks to you earlier.

  • michael kors factory outlet
    Posted April 23, 2018 3:46 pm 0Likes

    I’m just commenting to make you know of the outstanding encounter my girl enjoyed reading through your site. She noticed lots of issues, including what it’s like to have an ideal giving style to have the rest with ease grasp several tricky things. You actually exceeded our expectations. Thanks for imparting these necessary, trusted, educational and also cool tips about your topic to Emily.

  • nike huarache
    Posted April 24, 2018 4:00 pm 0Likes

    I wish to express my appreciation to you just for bailing me out of this type of setting. Just after researching through the online world and coming across tricks which were not powerful, I believed my entire life was done. Being alive devoid of the solutions to the issues you’ve sorted out all through your main blog post is a crucial case, and those which could have badly damaged my career if I had not discovered your blog post. Your own personal natural talent and kindness in taking care of all the stuff was valuable. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I had not come upon such a step like this. I’m able to now look forward to my future. Thanks a lot so much for the professional and amazing help. I won’t hesitate to propose the sites to any individual who should receive guidelines about this problem.

  • yeezy boost 350 v2
    Posted April 25, 2018 1:55 pm 0Likes

    I precisely desired to thank you very much once more. I’m not certain the things I might have made to happen in the absence of the aspects contributed by you directly on such area of interest. Certainly was a very distressing matter in my view, nevertheless looking at your specialised technique you managed the issue took me to cry over joy. Now i’m grateful for this work as well as sincerely hope you recognize what an amazing job you are undertaking training the mediocre ones through the use of your website. I’m certain you haven’t encountered all of us.

  • paul george shoes
    Posted April 26, 2018 5:47 am 0Likes

    I must express appreciation to you for bailing me out of this issue. Because of surfing around through the world wide web and seeing tricks which were not pleasant, I assumed my entire life was over. Being alive without the presence of solutions to the problems you’ve solved through your guideline is a serious case, as well as those which might have in a wrong way damaged my career if I had not discovered the blog. That training and kindness in dealing with a lot of things was crucial. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I hadn’t encountered such a thing like this. I am able to at this time look ahead to my future. Thanks a lot so much for the expert and result oriented guide. I will not think twice to recommend your blog to anybody who should have care about this issue.

  • nike air max 90
    Posted April 26, 2018 10:04 pm 0Likes

    I would like to express appreciation to the writer just for rescuing me from this particular problem. Right after searching through the the web and coming across thoughts that were not pleasant, I assumed my life was well over. Living without the strategies to the difficulties you’ve solved as a result of your main website is a critical case, as well as the kind that could have badly damaged my career if I had not discovered your blog post. Your good mastery and kindness in handling everything was important. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I had not come across such a thing like this. It’s possible to now look forward to my future. Thanks a lot very much for this reliable and amazing help. I won’t be reluctant to propose the website to any person who should get guidelines on this area.

  • Michael Kors Saffiano Envelope Large Red Wallets
    Posted April 27, 2018 2:47 pm 0Likes

    My husband and i ended up being absolutely cheerful when John managed to finish up his inquiry via the precious recommendations he obtained through the web pages. It is now and again perplexing just to continually be releasing information which most people might have been trying to sell. And we all do know we now have the blog owner to appreciate for that. All the illustrations you’ve made, the straightforward site menu, the friendships you will make it possible to instill – it’s got many incredible, and it’s leading our son and our family imagine that the idea is fun, which is certainly extraordinarily pressing. Thanks for all!

  • stephen curry 5
    Posted April 28, 2018 1:36 pm 0Likes

    Thank you a lot for giving everyone an extremely pleasant opportunity to check tips from this blog. It really is so brilliant and as well , stuffed with a great time for me personally and my office co-workers to search your web site no less than 3 times in 7 days to learn the fresh things you will have. And of course, we’re certainly happy considering the exceptional advice you serve. Some 2 tips in this post are really the most suitable I’ve had.

  • nike polo
    Posted April 29, 2018 12:39 pm 0Likes

    A lot of thanks for your whole effort on this web page. My aunt takes pleasure in doing internet research and it’s really easy to see why. I know all relating to the lively method you deliver reliable tips via your blog and as well inspire response from others on this issue then my daughter is truly becoming educated a lot of things. Have fun with the rest of the year. You are conducting a splendid job.

  • nike zoom
    Posted April 30, 2018 5:06 am 0Likes

    I wanted to compose a message in order to thank you for all of the awesome tips and tricks you are placing on this website. My considerable internet search has at the end of the day been compensated with extremely good facts and techniques to exchange with my relatives. I would point out that we site visitors actually are really lucky to dwell in a decent community with very many perfect professionals with great secrets. I feel very grateful to have encountered your entire website and look forward to some more exciting times reading here. Thanks a lot once again for a lot of things.

  • Adidas Originals NMD X Yeezy 350 Boost Mens Running Shoes Olive Green
    Posted April 30, 2018 10:55 pm 0Likes

    I simply wanted to appreciate you once again. I am not sure what I might have made to happen without the type of opinions contributed by you over this problem. It was actually a real hard situation in my position, however , encountering this expert tactic you managed that took me to weep with joy. I’m thankful for this help and then hope you recognize what a great job that you are putting in educating people today through your site. I am sure you’ve never got to know all of us.

  • nike flyknit racer
    Posted May 1, 2018 6:42 am 0Likes

    I precisely needed to appreciate you again. I am not sure what I would have undertaken in the absence of the strategies shown by you on such a field. Certainly was a real depressing condition in my position, nevertheless taking a look at the very expert style you processed the issue forced me to weep over delight. I’m just happy for your information and even pray you recognize what a powerful job that you’re putting in teaching the others via your web blog. I know that you haven’t met all of us.

  • adidas outlet
    Posted May 2, 2018 9:33 am 0Likes

    A lot of thanks for all of the work on this blog. My mum loves getting into investigations and it’s really easy to see why. A lot of people hear all about the compelling method you provide very useful tips and hints through the blog and attract contribution from other ones on that topic plus our favorite princess has been starting to learn a whole lot. Enjoy the rest of the year. You are doing a tremendous job.

  • michael kors handbags
    Posted May 3, 2018 1:08 pm 0Likes

    I wanted to compose you a bit of remark to say thanks once again for the beautiful tricks you have shown above. This is generous of people like you to supply unhampered what exactly many individuals might have offered for sale for an ebook to help with making some cash for themselves, chiefly seeing that you might have done it in the event you decided. These advice as well acted to provide a fantastic way to be sure that someone else have the identical keenness just as my personal own to realize great deal more when considering this condition. I am certain there are some more fun situations in the future for folks who check out your website.

  • michael kors handbags
    Posted May 4, 2018 8:00 am 0Likes

    I precisely wished to say thanks again. I am not sure the things that I might have used without the entire secrets provided by you concerning this theme. This has been a distressing case for me, but discovering your professional strategy you treated it took me to weep for delight. I am just thankful for your guidance and have high hopes you find out what a great job that you are doing educating most people with the aid of your blog. I am sure you haven’t met any of us.

  • Agen Sbobet Terpercaya
    Posted July 16, 2018 4:58 am 0Likes

    Kami adalah Agen Sbobet yang memberikan bonus 100% deposit untuk member baru kami. Silahkan Langsung Kunjungi situs resmi kami dibawah ini :

  • Bandar Sbobet
    Posted July 16, 2018 5:10 am 0Likes

    Thanks for each of your hard work on this site. Agen Casino Sbobet It actually was a difficult setting in my opinion, but taking note of a new skilled fashion you resolved it forced me to leap for contentment. I am just happier for your information as well as have high hopes you know what a powerful job you are carrying out training men and women through your website. visite back by site.

  • Bandar Judi Bola
    Posted July 16, 2018 9:20 am 0Likes

    juarajudi adalah situs Bandar Bola yang meyani bettor dalam pembuatan id judi online dengan deposit sangat murah yaitu hanya 10 ribu ripiah saja. Silahkan Langsung kunjungi situs resmi kami :


  • Bandar Sbobet
    Posted July 16, 2018 10:46 am 0Likes

    I like this! I haven’t ever seen a post as interesting article like yours. Agen Taruhan you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is magnificent, let alone the content!. Visit Back my Site :

  • Belia Poirer
    Posted July 23, 2018 12:28 pm 0Likes

    Hello there, simply turned into aware of your weblog thru Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will be grateful in the event you proceed this in future. Numerous folks will likely be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  • dildo strapon
    Posted August 15, 2018 6:39 am 0Likes

    “Good blog! I really love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I am wondering how I could be notified when a new post has been made. I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed which must do the trick! Have a nice day!”

  • www.wakawaka.id
    Posted August 28, 2018 1:30 pm 0Likes

    Tremendous challenges below. I’m pretty pleased to seem the write-up.. koleksi youtube terbaru Thanks considerably with this particular looking in front to contact you. Will you you should drop me a e-mail?

  • minecraft
    Posted September 4, 2018 8:03 pm 0Likes

    You actually make it seem really easy along with your presentation however I
    in finding this topic to be really one thing which I
    feel I would by no means understand. It sort of feels too complex and very extensive for me.
    I’m having a look forward for your next put up, I will
    try to get the hold of it!

  • minecraft
    Posted September 11, 2018 4:27 am 0Likes

    What’s up colleagues, how is the whole thing, and what you wish for to say concerning this
    piece of writing, in my view its really remarkable in favor of me.

  • zvodretiluret
    Posted September 13, 2018 1:59 am 0Likes

    The crux of your writing while sounding agreeable at first, did not work well with me after some time. Somewhere within the paragraphs you were able to make me a believer but just for a while. I nevertheless have a problem with your jumps in logic and one might do well to help fill in all those breaks. In the event you can accomplish that, I could definitely be amazed.

  • minecraft
    Posted September 13, 2018 11:48 pm 0Likes

    When someone writes an piece of writing he/she keeps the idea of a user
    in his/her brain that how a user can understand it.
    So that’s why this paragraph is outstdanding. Thanks!

  • zvodretiluret
    Posted September 15, 2018 5:29 pm 0Likes

    I delight in, result in I found just what I used to be having a look for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  • minecraft
    Posted September 18, 2018 3:58 am 0Likes

    Hi there, I discovered your blog via Google while looking for a
    similar topic, your site got here up, it appears
    great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Hello there, simply turned into alert to your blog via Google, and
    located that it is truly informative. I’m going to be careful for brussels.
    I will be grateful if you happen to proceed this in future.
    Many other folks will be benefited out of your writing.

  • casino live xalapa
    Posted September 23, 2018 4:40 pm 0Likes

    In still pay no your tax debt, you’ll be levied.
    As far as what may possibly cause it, ill-fitting shoes worn constantly
    as well as poor nail care. The only important thing left is to cite your
    sources. http://forumpronet.com/member.php?u=164039-KobySilcoc

  • ace333 apk
    Posted October 2, 2018 4:12 pm 0Likes

    Maybe two sites on submitting to directories page always be worth viewing.
    These are advertisements powered by Bing or google.
    I’ve got three words for you.”Research your Keywords”. https://918kiss.bid/downloads/222-download-ace333-apk-to-phone-for-android-and-ios

Add Comment