THE ACTIVIST ATHLETE,OUR FLAG AND OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM

By E. P. Unum

Hat Tip: Rip McIntosh

July 14, 2021

  Fox News has devoted much coverage to Gwen Berry, the third-place finisher in the female hammer throw event for the recently concluded U.S. Olympic Trials. Ms. Berry, who is black, qualified to represent the United States as part of the USA Olympic Team in Beijing, China this summer. 
It is quite an honor to be representing one’s country, but not according to this young woman. She turned her back while the National Anthem was being played, and has since stated that the American Flag does not represent black people and that the National Anthem itself is racist.  She says all we have to do is look at history to confirm this. Someone should suggest to this ill-educated young woman that she study American history just a little bit harder. Better still, perhaps she should visit the African American Medal of Honor Memorial in Wilmington, Delaware. There, she can become acquainted with the 90 African American Medal of Honor Recipients receiving the awards. She will learn about Robert Augustus Sweeney who is one of only 19 men throughout our history to have been awarded the Medal of Honor twice! There have only been 3,470 Medals of Honor awarded in U.S. History and black Americans along with whites, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese…..Americans all…heroes all…have earned them. Heroism knows no color, race, creed, or religion. While this young, immature and highly confused young woman is at it, she might also learn about Sergeant William H. Carney, the first African American to have been awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry during the Union Army’s charge on Fort Wagner in the Civil War. 
Having seen his unit’s standard-bearer shot, Sergeant William Carney grabbed the American Flag, preventing it from falling to the ground in the middle of the battle, and carried it forward despite being shot several times. He managed to rally the troops, continued the assault, and planted the flag on the ramparts of Fort Wagner before succumbing to his mortal wounds.  Sergeant Carney perished protecting the Flag young Gwen Berry says “does not represent black people; there is no question about that”.  One more thing about the Medal of Honor:  Only Supreme Acts of Heroism are recognized by the award of the Medal of Honor. It is the highest award given by a grateful nation. Incidentally, the unit in which Sergeant Carney served, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, is today a volunteer unit serving at military funerals and parades. This unit was invited to march in President Obama’s Inaugural Parade. Come to think of it, I wonder what the basis is for Ms. Berry’s opinion that America is a racist nation? Didn’t our nation elect a Black President, Barack Hussein Obama…twice? Didn’t we just elect a Female Vice President who is also black? Do we not have a black Supreme Court Justice? Has she looked closely at the players on Major League Baseball Teams, the National Basketball Association, Major League Soccer and how many players are black? We have the Black Entertainment Network and Black Entertainment Awards. There are prominent black attorneys and presidents and CEOs of major corporations. Didn’t our country expend some $5 trillion over the period 1964-2020 lifting black Americans out of poverty…far more than has been expended on any other ethnic group….how does all of this happen in a nation that is supposedly prejudiced against blacks?  It seems to me that this young, opinionated activist athlete ought to first learn to put her mind in gear before she puts her mouth in motion, and save herself much embarrassment. But, if she is so disenchanted with our nation and cannot bring herself to respect our Flag or Anthem, she can certainly leave, take her skills somewhere else, and compete against AmericaThere are no anchors on her backside preventing her from leaving. You can do this when you live in the Land of the Free because the Brave have paid for that right with their blood. But Gwen Berry is not the only headline. Now, today the news out of the Olympic and Paralympics Committee is that they are hard at work (and spending a great deal of time and money) evaluating several redesigns of the American Flag to use in their promotional materials for the upcoming Olympic Games. Apparently, they believe our Flag needs a redesign to go along with their Olympic Symbols. I find this fascinating. In my opinion, our Flag is just fine the way it is but perhaps they ought to consider first whether they have the right to tamper at all with the Flag of our country. I seem to recall that there are some fairly rigid rules to follow with respect to our Flag and authority to change it rests with the Congress of the United States.  And, while this may seem like a revolutionary and novel idea, they might want to consult with the American people and our military and get their opinion as to whether or not our Flag needs change.

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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