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In video, Kaepernick says he's 'still ready' to return

FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2018, file photo, former NFL football quarterback Colin Kaepernick applauds while seated on stage during W.E.B. Du Bois Medal ceremonies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Colin Kaepernick says he's "still ready" to return to the NFL, even though he is set to enter his third season out of the league. In a video posted Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019 on social media, the 31-year-old Kaepernick is shown working out in a gym. He says in the video: "5 a.m. 5 days a week. For 3 years. Still Ready." (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

When flag burning became a common way to protest, I thought it was a tribute to the idea of freedom in this country that you could do that. Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick used another meaningful acknowledgment of freedom in this country by kneeling during the national anthem. I was impressed that a veteran told him that kneeling would be preferable to sitting on the bench with his back to the flag.

Is the way people use the flag today respectful? As a young girl I was taught to raise and lower the flag daily, protect it from weather, shine a light on it if it had to be out at night. A flag was an indication of a federal building, a post office, an American Embassy, a military base. You could wave a flag on holidays. 

Then there were flags on T-shirts and windshields, and others who flew 24 hours a day on porches, mailboxes and on and on. Why? They were never taken down, never protected and not even made in this country. What did they signify? 

How do those flags honor veterans? When decorated heroes retire from the military, they seem to be disrespected: John McCain or Robert Mueller, for example.

The flag is a wonderful symbol of freedom and shouldn’t be used as a decoration or for what you think is a political statement.

Francine Cohn • Ballwin