During the Vietnam War, Gen. William Westmoreland appeared on a TV talk show. The host asked him what he thought about all the anti-war protests, which were happening mainly on college campuses. Westmoreland said that throughout history people have laid down their lives so Americans can exercise their right to disagree.

But Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen asserts that if you protest during the national anthem, you don’t respect your country and are dishonoring it. (“Kneeling during anthem is protesting America,” June 17 LNP | LancasterOnline).

I love my country, but as long Donald Trump is president, I won't fly the Stars and Stripes. I won’t stand during the playing of the national anthem. That is my right, and my fellow countrymen, starting in 1775, fought and died so I could enjoy that right. That’s what freedom is about.

“My country, right or wrong” is not patriotism; it’s nationalism. Nationalism is what brought the Nazis to power in 1933, and, in my view, it is happening again here. Our country has done many terrible things. We killed many of the Indigenous people. We forcibly brought people from Africa and treated them as nonhumans. Women didn’t have the right to vote until 1920. And when Thiessen mentioned fighting in World War II, he failed to say that many Black men who fought for the U.S. suffered racial prejudice upon their return.

I love my country, but I hate the racism it allows. Colin Kaepernick gave up his career for what he believes; he is an American hero.

Christine Macready

West Hempfield Township

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