Local veteran “disgusted” by NFL players who kneel during anthem

By Alana Cerrone

acerrone@abc6.com

Alana_Cerrone

To Ray Blanda, the national anthem is more than just a song. It has a deep and emotional meaning for him, and other veterans like him.

"You’ll see veterans at a parade or at a ballpark – wearing hats like man or that say U.S. Army or U.S. Navy, they salute and you see tears. That’s what it means."

That’s why he calls the NFL protests, kneeling during the anthem, disrespectful

"You know what I fought for their right to do this but I don’t have to like it – and I don not like it. And I am very disgusted at them."

He says he understands the NFL players’ right to protest but thinks they chose the wrong venue to do so

"My comrades died defending what they’re able to do now and I think there are other ways to protest."

His other concern – the impression athletes are making on our most impressionable Americans.

"My dad always told me I have to stand for the national anthem – if my hero doesn’t have to do it then I don’t have to do it."

After serving in the U.S. Army for twenty years, spending some of that time in Vietnam Blanda says he may have to tune out a couple games to not have to watch what he calls a despicable act.

"You want to protest that you are fighting for the oppressed – that’s fine so did I, and I never made the salary you did."

© WLNE-TV 2017