So I had all figured out what I was going to write about in my column and then like what sometimes happens, my mind goes a different direction. And this is one of those times. I normally write my column Thursday mornings and last Thursday was my Exchange Club meeting day.

So I had all figured out what I was going to write about in my column and then like what sometimes happens, my mind goes a different direction. And this is one of those times.  I normally write my column Thursday mornings and last Thursday was my Exchange Club meeting day.  
Our meetings are held at Denny’s and we always face the big flag at the Walmart intersection and say the pledge of allegiance.  As we did this I couldn’t help but think about the current protests at football games with players kneeling rather than standing for the national anthem.  It has now made its way down to the peewee football level and it is a disgrace.
I have some deep feelings about those who see fit to disrespect our flag and if my feelings offend you then you are free to quit reading.  There are ways to protest and there are ways to showcase your displeasure with certain issues but disrespecting the symbol of your nation is not that way.  If you are that unhappy with the country then by all means please avail yourself of the freedom that people have died to preserve and leave. And leave now.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, we were the UNITED States of America.  Now we are anything but united.  At one time we were known as the “melting pot” but now we are just a “smorgasbord” of people who happen to live within the confines of a certain geographic boundary – some legally and many illegally.
At one time immigrants came to America, worked hard, learned what it meant to be a citizen and eventually (and proudly) did what it took to become an American.  They maintained their heritage but “melted” with other ethnicities and other cultures and called themselves American.
Now, we have become a hyphenated country with many calling themselves African American or Mexican American or (you name the country).  All of us should be proud of our heritage but hyphenated Americans are not being true to either country.
Remember that the pledge says “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”  I know that those who chose to kneel are going to say that they are protesting the fact that everyone doesn’t have justice and that is what is wrong in the country.
I will readily admit that there is injustice in the country.  No nation is perfect but I will take what we have over the next closest best in the world.  I am a proud veteran and I don’t know of a fellow veteran who doesn’t feel that they served so that people can protest the very country that they were willing to die for.  But, I also don’t know a veteran who tolerates someone disrespecting the nation by kneeling during the pledge or national anthem.
We, as a country must do better and must serve everyone.  But far too many “snowflakes” take offense to every little slight and think that the fantasy world they create is reality.  Protest is healthy, disrespect is not.  We are either one nation under God or we cease to be relevant in the world.
If people come here to become Americans in their heart then I welcome them openly.  But, if they come only to take advantage of our weak will and our largess as a nation then please by all means stay home and demand your own nation to take care of your needs.  We need real Americans and not wannabes.
If you think I am too harsh then too bad.  I don’t waste even a second of my time worrying about people who think I am too patriotic.  I bleed American red and would gladly give every ounce of my blood in defense of my nation.  I respect the different cultures of the world and expect their citizens to be just as proud of their country.  

But, don’t come to America and demand us to change to accommodate you.  Jump into the melting pot and make us as a nation better by being part of the country and not just being here to enjoy the benefits without the sacrifice.
Many a time I tear up when I hear the national anthem and stand a little straighter when it starts.  I understand that we don’t always do everything right but it is still my country and I will never apologize for being an American and I sure won’t tolerate someone disrespecting my country.
So maybe these privileged “athletes” should put more energy into being part of the solution rather than just bringing attention to themselves.  Maybe they should reexamine what it means to be “One nation under God”.  

Kevin Wilson writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.