To The Editor:

“Freedom of Speech: More a Gift Than a Right.” 

How can one love more the gift than the giver of the gift? NFL football players taking a knee as a statement of protest (of whatever) is a wonderful demonstration of what I believe is less an issue of freedom of speech than maturity and timing. Let me explain. 

I believe the playing of our national anthem, for any event, should and must be a time — more than any other — during which we all must stand, united, both literally and figuratively. I believe this because our freedom is, arguably, the most important thing our national anthem stands for. 

And is it not the same freedom for which many soldiers and their families died defending so we can openly and freely disagree to begin with? If the old adage, “timing is everything” is true, then I don’t believe NFL players exercising their freedom of speech to bring attention to a cause they believe is important to them personally — at a moment set aside to honor those who fought and died to make that freedom possible — is the right time to do that! 

I have come to realize with age that more than a right, freedom is first a gift, given to us by God, but purchased and preserved for us as a nation by the supreme sacrifice of our veterans, and it is for God and these men and women and their families we must all stand at the playing of our national anthem. 

As Thomas Jefferson said, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed the conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?”