Americans have stood for the U.S. flag since June 14, 1777. The day the Continental Congress declared the flag of 13 stripes, red and white, that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing the United States of America.

Thirty-seven years later, in August of 1814, the White House and U.S. Capitol were turned to ashes, after the British military burned the public buildings to the ground. Americans understandably feared that the “Union Jack,” the British flag, would soon fly over all of America again.

Three weeks later, Francis Scott Key. A Maryland attorney who politically opposed the current president was so moved at seeing the U.S. flag flying at the end of the Battle at Fort McHenry, that he wrote the poem: The Star Spangled Banner. It was set to music and is now our National Anthem.

We stand for the flag today, not to please ourselves, but to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. This includes William Williams, a runaway slave who died after having his leg blown off as part of the 38th U.S. Infantry at the Battle of Fort Henry.

He is honored alongside more recent heroes like Robert Kelly, son of the former White House Chief of Staff. Robert Kelly died in a roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan in 2010.

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Yes, you have the right to kneel in protest, but do not forget why you have that right. Maybe some of the UND hockey players should visit Arlington National Cemetery. You can kneel there too.

Mike Uhlir, Grand Forks