As we prepared to bury our father last week my siblings and I decided to bury him in the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery which is reserved for veterans of the Navy, Army, National Gaurd and the Coast Gaurd. This was a new experience for me as I had never been to a military burial and had no idea what to expect.
I sat there as the military honored his service in the playing of Taps, I was truly moved by the rendition and I sat there and felt a variety of emotions ranging from extreme pride to intense sadness. I was proud that my father fought for this country so that his family and every family in America could experience freedoms that are foreign to many other countries, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of expression and so on and on. I was saddened because all of the fighting he and other veterans have done appear to be in vain. I look across the news and incidents in the United States and I see the freedom of black and brown people being violated without repercussions almost daily. I see the Leader of the country and his political party rallying around divisive legislation and practices and it saddens me. I keep thinking, “ Is this what my father fought for and was willing to die for?” I think not. I would like all of us to think about taking a knee, not because we don’t honor the flag and the sacrifice of our veterans but because we do! They fought for the very rights that are being violated every day. My father understood that taking a knee against racial profiling, systematic abuse of black and brown individuals and illegal sentencing were not what he fought for.
But I have hope that one dayour nation will relizethat it is not the color of our skin that separates us and that we are more alike than different and that we can live as one.