Thank troops, respect flag

I recently returned from a year-long combat tour in Baghdad, Iraq. During a recent visit to Eastern University, I was appalled and infuriated by the actions of a few Eastern students at a lacrosse game, more specifically, during the playing of the National Anthem.

While the rest of us stood, either in reverent silence or to sing along with the Star Spangled Banner, several groups of students chose to remain seated, to keep doing their homework or just to continue on with their everyday business, oblivious to the fact that something of any importance was happening.

Please understand that to those of us who have shed our blood in the defense of this nation, that banner is more than just a piece of cloth-it is a symbolic testament to the men and women that have laid down their lives in its service.

When I see those stripes of red I am reminded of Carson J. Ramsey, his life violently and brutally taken in a car bomb attack last October. I remember Nathan Richer, bullet-ridden and lying in a pool of his own blood last August. I remember the soldiers of 2-5 Cav. 17 of whom lost their lives in the initial assault on Sadr City. I remember Rey Cuervo. Benjamin Brown. My own injuries from the battles of Sadr City and Baghdad al-Jadeera.

The list goes on and on, through nearly two and a half centuries of American history. The stripes are red because of our blood.

So the next time our anthem is played, stand in reverence and remembrance, stand in the honor of my brothers and comrades who will never return to the homes they died to protect. You owe them at least that much.

Peter M. CooperU.S. Army

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