I’ve been privileged enough to walk the cemeteries and beaches in Normandy, and while there, I realized the impossibility of the task of liberating France. American men knew their odds were poor, yet they scaled vertical cliffs, crossed expanses of beaches, and gave their lives freely so many across the Atlantic could experience freedom. Only their posterity could benefit from these sacrifices.

I watched my close friends put their lives on hold–in harm’s way–to fight an enemy they believed was a threat to our nation. Most came home, some didn’t. In a foreign land, sometimes the image of the flag was their only comfort of home. It meant something to them.

I held my newborn son on Election Day, and as divisive and tense as the election was, I knew he was born into a country with the longest history of peaceful transfer of power. That’s incredible to ponder.

America isn’t perfect by any means, but that’s why America is great. We’ve built our country on Judeo-Christian principles and respect for Rule of Law, and these values are what help us to work out our differences. We live in the greatest country on earth because we continue to overcome.

So why do I stand for the National Anthem? I stand not just out of respect for those who gave their lives for us in the past, but also for the hope that we’ll be able to continue eliminating oppression, divisiveness, and hatred, despite the bumps we’re experiencing today.

That’s why I choose to stand.

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