Steve “Stef” Stefanides
Our community showed its true patriotic colors this last weekend as we gathered to commemorate the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001. Those events galvanized our nation’s resolve to respond to the attacks on freedom and democracy with a united message that America will never falter in our support of the foundations of our liberty and support of our democratic principles.
The loss of life at the World Trade Centers, at the Pentagon and on Flight 93 will forever be burnt into our memories. We will never forget the sacrifices of our first responders as they raced into harm’s way to save countless lives, but would see many of them give the ultimate sacrifice in that effort. Many more are still passing from us today, as the aftereffects of the tragedy continues to take a toll in lives.
Since that day, thousands of brave young men and women in uniform have taken the fight to the enemy. They’ve done so at great cost to themselves and their families. The sight of flag draped military caskets on print and digital media outlets in our nation have been all too prevalent. Those sacrifices remind us of the cost of our maintaining our freedoms and way of life.
It was a quote that has often been attributed to Abraham Lincoln that would ring true as I would watch millionaire professional athletes disrespect our nation during this last week. “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves,” said Lincoln.
This disrespect of the nation, especially on a day that has so much meaning to the American public cries out for a united response from all Americans, regardless of their race, color and creed. The sight of a proud Marine standing at attention while a player or players refuse to show the respect for the National Anthem being played before tens of thousands of fans is disgusting.
This is especially true as men and women wearing a different style helmet, with an American patch on their sleeve and a love for this nation in their hearts are putting their lives on the line every day. The commitment to this nation by those young men and women provides the blanket of liberty which allows the spoiled and overpaid athlete to live in luxury and exercise their misguided right to make such a disrespectful protest.
Our nation’s response was overwhelming in opposition, not only to the disrespect, but to the lack of cognizant and rational response by the NFL and the team ownership.
Maybe some of these players would have their time better served if they were to turn their attention to helping to quell the violence in our inner cities. They should take the time to speak to the value of having a traditional family unit which provides a loving and nurturing foundation for the next generation of young people.
Eighty-five law enforcement officers have been killed this year, with a 50% increase in their deaths attributed to gunfire. An effort to reduce that might be welcomed by those of us that don’t have a six or seven figure income.
Maybe the increasing number of arrests of NFL players for domestic violence might also be an area that they could concentrate their efforts on to clean up that image. This is in sharp contrast to spouses and children that are separated from their loved ones who are off in a foreign land protecting our liberties.
Lincoln was right when he feared the destruction of our nation from within, rather than by an invading force from another land. We should heed the warnings signs and move the nation back onto a track the celebrates our great accomplishments and continue to work on improving the lives of all our citizens while recognizing the challenges that lay before us, both domestically and internationally, and rise to meet those challenges with the resolve and determination that have made us the great nation we are today.
Steve Stefanides, well-known by his nickname “Stef,” is an experienced award-winning reporter of local civic and public interest news. Stef’s More Straight Talk column (and its predecessor, Straight Talk), on a variety of subjects, is a favorite of readers who trust him to bring them the facts. A Marco Island resident, Stef contributes to the community in many ways, having served on a number of city committees, charitable groups, boards and local organizations. Contact him by email at Stef@coastalbreezenews.com.