I have some questions for those disgraceful professional football players who refused to stand while our national anthem was being played:

How many of you are millionaires because you are citizens of the United States? Have you put your lives at risk defending our country? Apparently, you were protesting some sort of black cause. Did you support it with a substantial gift of money? When our flag passes by in a parade, do you stand as it passes by?

I stand at attention and also salute the men on the floats carrying veterans. At various places, I not only repeat the Pledge of Allegiance but salute to honor my friends who paid the ultimate price. Why haven't those multi-millionaire owners of your teams, who watch you play from their plush boxes, stand up for our country and reprimand you for your disgraceful acts?

I was called to defend our country. I really didn't want to go, but I answered the call. Some young men refused and ran away to another country. If those of you who protested have such a dislike for your country, why don't you leave too?

A lot of my friends were killed in action. I came close a number of times. In 1951, while in mortal combat with the enemy, I lost a buddy because of an enemy mortar attack. As I looked down at his face, while I was carrying his stretcher, I noticed his dead eyes staring up at me. Blood was trickling from his ears. I think about him now and again.

Would he approve of your disgraceful act of refusing to stand while our national anthem was being played? I doubt it. You see, he was black and he died to preserve our freedom.

Those football players' actions are truly disgraceful, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

Robert Echelbarger, Mason City


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