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Letter: Time to honor the words that the flag represents

Time to honor the words that the flag represents

What is more important: the words, “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” or the symbol that is supposed to represent the words? I have the utmost respect for anybody who has served this country. But for those with skin darker than mine, I go beyond respect to compassion. I have a question for veterans of my complexion who are offended by those not standing for the national anthem. How offended would you be if, when you returned to this country after fighting for it, you were forced to sit in the back of the bus, spat upon and called vulgar names? Vietnam vets can have some appreciation, but dark-skinned Vietnam vets were more disrespected by their country and even the communities in which they grew up.

I am eternally grateful to all vets, and have always known how lucky I have been to live in this country. But I have also always known how lucky I am to be white, and that isn’t right. Some of the same people who are offended by NFL players kneeling during the national anthem think Native Americans should not be offended by certain athletic team nicknames and mascots.

When one group says Black Lives Matter, another counters with All Lives Matter. We can end the rhetoric when our actions back up our words. All lives do matter. Media, please steer this conversation to the words, not the symbol. President Trump, please back your campaign promise to the community you were speaking to, when you said, “Nobody has more respect for you than I do. Things can’t possibly get any worse.”

The flag is important because of what it stands for. The time has come to honor the words. When the words become true, the symbol will take care of itself.

Angie Staniszewski

Tonawanda

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