Stand or Kneel
By Amaya Christopher
Since a young age there were multiple symbols put into place by my teachers and my mother. When I first started school, I was placed into a catholic school. We were taught to respect one another and most of all yourself and Christ. Every morning you were expected to come to school by a certain time to make the morning pledge and prayer. In the building there were crosses above each doorway and above the teacher's desk. This mean’t that the crosses were supposed to bless the room, the teacher and its students. On my mothers behalf I was taught to also believe in God. Although my family isn't that religious, we still believe in the power of God and more than anything we are spiritual. My parents and I would still make it to Mass every couple of weeks and every Friday it would be part of our daily schedule to make it to mass at school. Also we would have a part of the school day where we were taught things that were in the Bible. However, we never necessarily were taught how to completely respect the flag.
As a child growing up in a family where football was watched every Sunday night, there was never anyone in my household who really stood up for the National Anthem. I've never noticed this until now. Especially at games my father and I went to, we also did not stand. We would just watch the performer sing the anthem, cheer like the rest and then was prepared for kick-off. My father came to America when he was four years old. Until September of last year my father was not a U.S. citizen. I think part of the reason he didn't stand was because he still respects the country of Trinidad although he has been here for quite some time. And don't get me wrong us not standing had and has nothing to do with disrespect towards the U.S. Military, it's just the fact that America does not completely stand for the rights of colored people. Think about this, in America you can enslave a group of people for three hundred plus years, restrict them of privilege for another one hundred years and then fill two-thirds of a prison system with the same group but then turn around and get appauld because that same group of people won’t celebrate America’s history. If that history was celebrated that would be one severe case of Stockholm’s Syndrome.
In my family there wasn't anything put into place that was so serious that my parents would expect of us, except for the normal things like, do well in school, respect others and yourself, go to college but most importantly be happy. My family is very open minded to most beliefs and other people’s ideas although that may not be there way of thinking. Political views is a big topic in my house as well. We all pretty much think the same way. We are mostly involved in the political aspects for the rights and equality of colored people in this country. We've never really talked about the National Anthem but since the topic has came along in today's news there was conversation. I do not believe in the meaning behind the National Anthem as some may. When my mother has to have a talk with my father on how to handle a simple “traffic stop” with a civil servant so that he can make it home alive, that’s not a country of the “land of the free”. Listening to the words of the song may seem like they are brave and stand for the rights of the American people, but after everything that has happened in the past and even today, this country does not stand up for all the people in it. So no, I do not believe in the National Anthem, however I have many reasons to back up my belief.