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Why I Stand For The National Anthem

| September 10, 2016

no day shall erase you from memory 9/11 museum

At the 9/11 Museum at Ground Zero in Manhattan, deep below ground level, a commemorative wall, with a blue brick for each victim, separates the public viewing area from the resting place of thousands of remains. (c FlaglerLive)

By Patrick Juliano

We’ve been inundated by stories of certain professional sport athletes who feel the need to protest the playing of the National Anthem. More of the same was scheduled for Sunday as members of the Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks planned unspecified team-wide protest.

This Sunday is also the 15th Anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I read an article quoting an athlete saying he didn’t care what day it was, he was going to protest anyway.

So how much weight should we give free speech? Should it be limited, censored or punished? Do we compromise the integrity of our Constitution because a sports athlete lacks tact or respect?

I believe the answer is No. The free speech of ordinary citizens should never be censored or punished. But in these situations, athletes who claim injustice are not ordinary citizens. They’re paid professionals who are using their employers’ time, resources and network exposure—negotiated by those employers with television networks–to promote their personal agenda.

Patrick Juliano

Patrick Juliano. (c FlaglerLive)

Think hard: If you caused a protest at you place of employment, would you still have a job the next day? Regardless of the issue, would you as a business owner allow the business or brand you built to be compromised or possibly demolished because an employee is protesting one issue or another that has nothing to do with your business?

In the anthem controversy, NFL athletes are receiving the sort of compensation packages from professional sports teams and sponsors that places them among the world’s top earners. They’re paid and recognized for their performance–in the sports arena. Their job is to play football. Yet these well paid athletes believe it’s right for them to use their position enabled by their employer to promote their own narcissistic view. Because they are so important, they’re telling the world, the world must take notice.

On this 15th Anniversary of 9/11, where is the outrage and sense of injustice for the families of the 2,976 innocent lives taken that day? Or the outrage that thousands have terminal diseases from exposure to the toxins of the buildings’ collapse? The outrage that so many first-responders died trying to save others, or that those who survived dug through rubble to find victims or what little remains could be found? Where is the outage for the families who, left at best with a piece of clothing, a helmet or a dusty relic that may or may not have belong to their loved one, will never have the opportunity to lay their loved one to rest, and so never get closure?

The outrage should be directed at those who have taken for granted the liberty and privilege of being a professional athlete by showing disrespect to our National Anthem.

People I know and care about every year must go and track their medical disease. They suffer from PTSD, cancer, cardiac and respiratory diseases. But no outrage, no protests, no sit-ins before games. We asked our first responders to answer the calls for help. They answered. Many died answering the call. Many are surviving in agony, yet we are abandoning them when they need us the most.

I am no one important. My voice will never be heard, other than by those who choose to read this. My outrage at the blatant disrespect will never be given a moment’s thought. Yet an over paid, under-achieving bench warmer who decided to sit during the National Anthem gets prime-time coverage and news-cycle saturation attention. Other athletes are apparently planning to do likewise, attracted as they may be by the attention.

These athletes are no different than those who abuse the privilege of office. These athletes are not like you and me. They are rich, famous and consider themselves entitled. Their opinions carry more weight because of their profession and the enormous attention we give sports as a nation. But they don’t value the power of their speech. They’re not weighing their actions. They’re not putting thought before action. They’re acting out on their employers’ stage and clothing their act in the sort of importance that misses the point, especially when their acts coincide with 9/11. They are spoiled, narcissistic, elitists pandering for media attention, and they are rewarded with it. Do you truly believe they care one bit about the injustices they claim to be protesting?

9/11 memorial

At the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero. (Patrick Juliano)

I feel I must stand up and do what is right. On 9/11, innocent lives were taken because they were American. 9/11 is more than a day in the history books. It’s a day I lost friends and neighbors, a day I watched neighbors come home off the train covered in dust, dazed, shattered, lost, a day my community mourned and began to understand. Millions have fought for the freedom and defense of this country, so we may enjoy the inalienable rights endowed to us by our Creator.

For this, I stand.

On 9/11, I will exercise my free speech and stand for our National Anthem. I owe that to the 2,976 innocent lives murdered in New York, at the Pentagon and on Flight 93, these honored dead to whom we owe our devotion, these honored dead who gave the last full measure of sacrifice. We owe them at least that much, so they will not have died in vain.

There is moral outrage. I am outraged. But the outrage should be directed at those who have taken for granted the liberty and privilege of being a professional athlete by showing disrespect to our National Anthem by way of protest. That’s not protesting. It’s stomping on graves, on memories and on the flag.

On this Sunday as some infamous sport athletes defame our flag and national remembrance, keep the families of those who were lost in your hearts, thoughts and prayers. May God Bless the victims, responders, families and loved ones of those affected by 9/11.

May God Bless our US military forces, blue star and gold star families who stand in readiness and perseverance for the defense and safety of this great nation. May God Bless the United States of America.

Below is the Flag of Honor, containing the names of all 2,976 innocent lives taken on 9/11.

Patrick Juliano, a native of Tuckahoe, N.Y., is a former Palm Coast firefighter and a member of Coastal Florida Police & Fire Pipes & Drums. He lives in Palm Coast.”

flag of honor 9/11

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33 Responses for “Why I Stand For The National Anthem”

  1. Just a thought says:

    You had up until you said “Millions have fought for the freedom and defense of this country, so we may enjoy the inalienable rights endowed to us by our Creator.” Let me fix that for you: “Millions have fought for the freedom and defense of this country, so we may enjoy the inalienable rights endowed to us by our CONSTITUTION.”

  2. Rick Belhumeur says:

    Colin Kaepernick can express his opinion by disrespecting our nation’s flag and those who sacrificed for his right to do so, and I’ll express my opinion by not watching any NFL game that he’s playing in.

  3. Heading North says:

    Amen Patrick, AMEN!!!
    I am proud of my two sons in the armed forces, of my Dad, a Pearl Harbor survivor, my father in law who was shot down over occupied Italy and MIA for four months behind enemy lines, and of all my friends who served in Vietnam Nam, and the Middle East conflicts. They stood, fought, and some died for our right to a free country. We are a action of proud Americans, and those that choose to disgrace our flag and anthem are wrong!
    And moreover, I am proud to call you my friend!
    God Bless, and stay safe!!

  4. Get A Grip says:

    Not one war was fought on US soil or any other soil for freedom of speech. The battles for freedom of speech were fought in the US supreme court system. Stop using your go to ace in the hole “Nationalism, Patriotism and Religion as an excuse for blocking someone else’s rights. There are elderly soldiers who fought for this country came home and were treated worst then the enemy and they remember every bit of it. Save your fake American History, it can’t be rewritten no matter how you try to white wash it.

  5. Brian says:

    Thank you very much Mr. Juliano.

  6. Steven Nobile says:

    Well said my friend.
    Remember, no one who stands up for what they believe in is unimportant, you especially!

  7. Tired of it says:

    Great article. Thank you Patrick for saying what needs to be said and remembered on this solemn day. The true heroes and people to be looked up to are those that perished that September day no mind the countless soldiers that have died defending our country so some over paid turd of an athlete can voice his opinion and get mass coverage from our liberal media. Those so called athletes should be benched for not showing respect to our country. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

  8. Katie Semore says:


  9. American Veteran says:

    Of coarse most employers would fire for somebody for protesting while on their time – especially when it conflicts with their values and agenda. Did it occur to anybody that perhaps the employer of this professional athlete is in agreement with their employee’s statement (or his right to say it)? Your argument holds no water. Stop the hypocrisy! Democracy is not always pretty. Long live the First Amendment!

  10. Sherry says:

    On this day of remembering the horrific tragedy and HEROES of 911, I would like to honor those heroes by publishing a list of those in Congress who voted AGAINST a clean bill that would provide vital benefits for our incredibly brave first res-ponders. This from

  11. Greg Dick says:

    Great job Patric spot on. Never forget and may God Bless America.

  12. r&r says:

    I stand with my right hand over my heart. That is who it’s for OUR COUNTRY and not for some stupid person who rights laws, policies etc. These people don’t care because they don’t have to abide by them. They are the voters employies and we the voters elect them and kick them out. So Get out and VOTE.

  13. David Sullivan says:

    Dave Sullivan says
    Well stated Patrick.

  14. Cyd Weeks says:

    Thank you Patrick for your service. I believe that it was misreported about what the team is doing and they are actually going to be standing arm in arm under the flag during the anthem. I guess we’ll have to see what the real actual story is. {{{hugs}}} to you on this day. Prayers for all of us.

  15. RobJr says:

    I read the first paragraph of this article and knew this guy didn’t know anything about Colin K’s protest.
    More than likely a beneficiary of white privilege he probably knows little about institutional racism and cares even less.

    Doing a little research shows he is also Trump supporter. With that fact there is no need to waste any more space on FlaglerLive’s server.

  16. Robert Lewis says:

    Get a grip? Religion, country and guns.. That’s what the right is all about. I wish I could see the world through your narrow minded eyes. What is the history you wish to write ?

  17. William Moya says:

    Just a thought, I think i’m with you in spirit but actually the “unalienable rights” is in the Declaration of Independence which is the document that was about to make law breakers of all of us so we added by “their creator” that is compelled by something divine thus absolving us for that original sin and in the process destroying the idea that we were to be a secular nation.

    Get a Grip, I’m with you, and while I would like for anybody who is about to put life and limb in peril to have the the thought and support of the nation the fact is that the armed forces are an instrument of our foreign policy and security. The support that we give our troops when returning home and to the surviving families is shameful, the lack of mental health aid which affect not just the numbers who fall victim of their disorders is appalling.

  18. Common Sense says:

    What makes this country great is that every individual has a right to their opinion. I ask all those of you who are so concerned about whether other should stand, salute, put their hand over their heart, etc., what does any of that really do for our country? It may make you feel good but it doesn’t really accomplish anything.
    What do you do to help less fortunate Americans, our homeless vets, for example?

  19. Born and Raised Here says:

    These NFL players never had it so good. Let’s look at what was given to them. 75 % came out of poverty, 65 % were raised by a single parent. Most of them were given a free college education, which included room and board, food, and school attire. Now they are all are under contract and making millions for just playing a game. If I was these guys I would stand proudly every time I heard the National Anthem, and hit my knees every night for what was given to me.

  20. Mark says:

    @ “just a thought” The founders explicitly said “creator” in the declaration of independence. The Constitution sets up the government and limits on the power of the government it does not give us anything.

  21. Get A Grip says:

    Robert Lewis, what the heck are you talking about? We’re talking freedom of speech not your made up war on “Indian’s, black people, drugs, the middle east /terrorist and now your guns. Hmm, was there ever a war on the Klan. Don’t think so. I wonder how many Jewish people support the German National anthem?

    The point I’m making is war mongers like yourself use the military as some sort of emulate, kinda like how white America justify’s it’s accepting of how the nations Police and departments operate. It’s always been about how white america feels. That’s why you can’t at the slightest know how it feels to be on the other end of it. The proof is in how you and others like you respond to articles or rebuttals mirroring what this country was really founded on. You just on’t get it. If the likes of you can’t handle a man kneeling because of a national anthem being founded from the words of a racist you wouldn’t have lasted five minutes as a slave or during outward segregation or making a wrong turn into a black and brown neighborhood now. Your version of America isn’t everyone elses.

  22. John F. Pollinger says:

    Today is another anniversary of incredible sadness for so many. Sadness for the families of each person who died on 911.

    Yet my sadness extends to the loss so many of us have experienced in our daily lives. It’s not about the loss of a family member or dear friend nor even the loss of the innocence that day.

    My sadness is the loss of caring for each other since that day. My sadness is for the loss of compassion since that day.

    On 911, we bonded together, hugged and cried together and did what ever we could as a nation together, each and every person in their own way. Car horns that sounded in anger at another driver were silenced. Anger toward someone else because of color, race or religion were silenced.

    We came together and rose up together out of sheer determination this ungodly and barbaric act could not and would not alter our moral course.

    My sadness extends beyond the loss that day. My sadness is for all of us who remain, all of us too young to remember and for all not yet born on September 11, 2001.

    It’s not too late….we can still care about our fellow human beings.

    It’s not too late…we cannot change the world, but we can make a difference in the lives of those around us by a simple gesture of kindness.

    It’s not too late… let go of hatred in our hearts and destroys us from within.

    It’s not too late………

  23. BlueJammer says:

    Thank you, Mr. Pollinger. You’re absolutely correct.

  24. Biker says:

    Thank you Patrick your words ring so true with this 911 first responder.

  25. Brad W says:

    What is left out is the question of why these athletes would even protest at all. The truth is that it is to speak out against the injustice and denial of liberties inflicted on our very own because of their race (aka racism). It’s not uncommon to question one’s “patriotism” when speaking out against racism either. Martin Luther King Jr. was heavily criticized and his patriotism for speaking out about black men being sent to fight and die for others’ liberties in Vietnam when they were denied liberties here in their own Country.

    Our flag is a symbol of a Country that is about freedom and liberty for all. With the severity of the racial injustices we continue to see we should actually be asking ourselves if we are even worthy enough to stand in front of that flag as a society or are we simply being hypocritical. In my opinion we don’t have a nationalism or patriotism problem, we have racism problem.

  26. YankeeExPat says:

    2006 interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer. Ann Coulter extols her book, “Godless: The Church of Liberalism.”

    “These self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9–11 was an attack on our nation and acted like as if the terrorist attack only happened to them. They believe the entire country was required to marinate in their exquisite personal agony. Apparently, denouncing bush was part of the closure process.” And this part is the part I really need to talk to you about: “These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband’s death so much.”

  27. footballen says:

    Thank you to the writer and to all who were blessed to live in this “free” country who were also allowed to give their opinions even if I do not agree. I agree with Mr. Polinger here, let us all go about our day today and try to effect everyone we contact in a positive way. Be nice to someone you do not want to be nice to. It is contagious too!!!!!!!!

  28. footballen says:

    Almost forgot, thank you to Pierre for posting all of this and allowing EVERYONE’s opinion.

  29. Sherry says:

    Thank you John F. Pollinger . . . our nation and culture is “Greatest” and “Strongest” when we are UNITED in love and caring for ALL our fellow humans!

    We need to join together to “lift up” people of all colors, races, religions, sexual orientation. . . and every other measure used by the “humanity haters” to divide us! We must strive ever harder to create EQUAL OPPORTUNITY and JUSTICE for ALL!

    Divisive fear, hatred, prejudice and bigotry must be defeated!

  30. Robert Lewis says:

    Get a grip, I just don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re post is filled with lots of hatred. I will pray for you.

  31. Eric says:

    To Robert Lewis… friend, I believe it is YOU that needs to get a grip. You commented twice on this article, both times attacking the author. So aside from getting a grip, you should also look at getting a hobby to better occupy your time.

  32. Fredrick says:

    Why can’t Pierre write articles like this? It’s almost like he thinks he may burst into flames.

  33. IMO says:

    Sherry…what a boring country this would be if we did not have a minority of people who were divisive, driven by fear, hatred, prejudice and bigotry?

    We would have no George Washington’s, John Adam’s, Alexander Hamilton’s, Thomas Jefferson’s, Abraham Lincoln’s, FDR’s, Eleanor Roosevelt’s, Dr. Martin L. Kings, JFK’s or RFK’s.

    We would,have no great authors writing books such as the Grapes of Wrath, How The Other Half Lives, Atlas Shrugged, 1984, Paradise Lost, Heart of Darkness, Animal Farm etc.

    Life is always about the triumph of “Good” over “”Evil.”

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