Teri Johnson is a Gold Star mom who lost her son, Sgt. Joseph Johnson, in an IED attack in Afghanistan in 2010. She was appalled after reading that San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem to protest police violence against the black community and to protest “a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
“I am sitting in my living room looking outside at my American Flag — flying at half staff. You see, my son’s body lay in a street after an IED blew up the vehicle he was fighting in. His blood stains the sands of Afghanistan. He died protecting the ideals of the flag you refuse to respect,” Johnson wrote in a Facebook post.
“There are brave men and women all around that stand between evil and you. Men and women willing to die to protect you because they believe in the ideals this country was founded on. Men and women of all races and religions. Ask them sir, about pride in the American flag. Ask them how their hearts feel when they hear the national anthem being sung. You are a public figure, someone young people look up to as an example. Shame on you.”
Kaepernick told reporters that he respects the military and the people that fought for the United States.
“I have great respect for our men and women that fought for this country,” Kaepernick told reporters. “I have family, I have friends that have fought for this country. And they fight for freedom. They fight for liberty and justice, for everyone.
Johnson told CNN, “When I read that he said he couldn’t stand for a flag that he didn’t have pride in … right away, my heart kind of stopped and I lost my breath because the flag that I see is the flag that draped my son’s casket in honor. And I see the flag that was handed to my husband and I with deep respect from a grateful nation. When I look at the flag, I see the best of us.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Johnson,”There are also grieving moms because their sons were innocently and wrongly killed by law enforcement … if one of them were here and said ‘Hey, Kaepernick wasn’t standing up against your son, he was standing up for my son,’ what would you say to that?”
Johnson replied by saying, “Yes, you have the right to sit down. Sitting down is something that is easy to do. But standing up and stepping forward is something that’s hard to do. And what I would like to see, if you really see oppression when you look at the flag, then make it your mission to be proud of it. Do something. Make a difference, so that when you look at that flag, you show pride and you feel hope and possibilities.”