• 31 May, 2023

A son kneels for the anthem. A father raises the flag. Both are patriots. By Theodore R. Johnson. Contributing columnist.

The United States of America is known for its rich history and culture of patriotism. For many Americans, patriotism is deeply ingrained in their identity and is often expressed through various symbols and actions, such as the national anthem and the American flag. However, what happens when different expressions of patriotism clash? In this news article, we will explore the story of a father and son who express their patriotism in different ways.

The Son Who Kneels:

Meet Michael Johnson, a 21-year-old college student from Atlanta, Georgia. Michael grew up in a household where his parents emphasized the importance of critical thinking and standing up for what you believe in. Michael's father, Richard Johnson, is a retired Marine who served in the Gulf War. Despite his father's military background, Michael has chosen to express his patriotism in a different way.

Michael is a football player at his college, and like many athletes across the country, he has chosen to kneel during the national anthem before games as a form of protest against racial injustice and police brutality. Michael is part of a growing movement of athletes who have taken a knee during the anthem, following in the footsteps of NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who first knelt during the anthem in 2016.

Michael's decision to kneel has not been without consequences. He has received backlash from some fans and even faced criticism from his own father, who believes that kneeling during the anthem is disrespectful to the military and the country. Despite this, Michael remains committed to his cause and believes that his actions are a way of honoring the ideals of the American flag and the values that it represents.

The Father Who Raises the Flag:

Richard Johnson, Michael's father, is a proud American and a staunch supporter of the military. Richard's own father served in the Korean War, and Richard himself served in the Gulf War as a Marine. After his military service, Richard became a police officer and worked in law enforcement for over 20 years.

For Richard, the American flag is a symbol of everything that he has fought for and everything that he believes in. He proudly displays the flag outside of his home and often participates in flag-raising ceremonies in his community. Richard is a firm believer that standing for the national anthem is a way of showing respect for the sacrifices that he and his fellow service members have made for their country.

When Richard first learned that his son was kneeling during the national anthem, he was disappointed and hurt. He believed that his son was disrespecting everything that he had fought for and that the flag represented. However, Richard also believes in the importance of dialogue and understanding, and he has tried to have open and honest conversations with Michael about their differing views on patriotism.

The Clash of Patriotic Expressions:

The clash between Michael and Richard's expressions of patriotism is not unique. Across the country, Americans have been divided over the issue of kneeling during the national anthem. Some view it as a powerful form of protest against racial injustice, while others view it as disrespectful to the military and the country.

In recent years, this debate has been heightened by the political climate, with politicians and media personalities weighing in on both sides of the issue. President Trump, for example, has been a vocal opponent of kneeling during the anthem, often referring to it as a sign of disrespect for the military and the country.

The debate over kneeling during the anthem has also spilled over into other areas of American life, including sports, entertainment, and even education. Some schools and universities have implemented policies that require students to stand during the national anthem, while others have allowed for more leniency and freedom of expression.


The clash between Michael and Richard's expressions of patriotism highlights the complexity of American identity and the various ways in which people express their love for their country. While the debate over kneeling during the anthem has been divisive, it is important to remember that both Michael and Richard are patriots who care deeply about their country and its future.

Ultimately, the key to bridging this divide lies in understanding and empathy. We must be willing to listen to each other's perspectives and engage in respectful dialogue, even when we disagree. As Americans, we must strive to uphold the values of democracy, freedom, and equality that our country was founded upon, and work towards building a more just and inclusive society for all.

In the end, the story of Michael and Richard Johnson is not just about two individuals with different expressions of patriotism, but a reflection of the larger conversation taking place in America today. It is a reminder that while we may have our differences, we are all united by a common love for our country and a shared desire to see it thrive.