Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Colin Kaepernick, The NFL, and Apple Pie Logic

Colin Kaepernick, The NFL, and Apple Pie Logic

It was around the time I was in my late teens and entered that variety store down near the Oak Street fire station.  Probably in her early sixties, an eccentric lady owned and operated the small neighborhood store and, as the title suggests, she sold a variety of items such as cigarettes, candy, soda, some household items and of course several personal care products.  Upon entering the store the lady was sitting behind the counter and as if she didn’t want to get up from her comfortable position asked, “What can I get for you today young man?”  I replied, “Do you happen to have any shoe polish?”  Without getting up from her chair she said, “No, but we have some apple pie.”  Now that stunned my logical way of thinking and I turned around and walked out without saying anything further.
Logical…natural or sensible given the circumstance, as one definition goes and I could see nothing sensible in the lady’s response.  What on earth does apple pie have to do with shoe polish?  I could see asking for something like toothpaste and if it were not in stock to suggest a mouth wash which seems more of a natural alternative recommendation.
Now here comes Colin Kaepernick a professional football player who decides to take a knee to the national anthem instead of standing at attention with his helmet under his left arm and right hand over his heart; a long standing tradition also an NFL (National Football League) rule clearly stated in the rulebook and required of all NFL teams…part of a contract players agree to when signing up to play (as opposed to work, for most of us have to work for our livelihood).
Kaepernick’s explanation for his protest centers around his belief that blacks are mistreated by the police (certainly we could add more to this but suffice it to say it could be summed up as such).  So now I ask, “What does the police treatment of blacks have to do with our national anthem?”  Is this not the same illogical response to the shoe polish story?  The anthem (as well as the flag) is in honor of our country’s victories over those who would want to destroy us and the men and women of the military who fought and died for our independence and freedom.
Most NFL players and certainly the coaches and upper management of the league have been to college or have some higher education other than the elementary school level.  Have any of them ever taken a course in logic or at least learned from life’s experiences the differences between shoe polish and apple pie?  How about respect for our country over scarce incidents of mistreatment by the police?  Kaepernick should take his protests to the police station…not just any police station but one where he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he or other blacks have been mistreated.  Maybe they’ll serve him some apple pie when he gets down on his knee.  ~  
Norman E. Hooben, MSgt, USAF, retired


Comment from social media:
Foster Fox Just read an article this morning that puts this in perspective. NFL players who kneel in protest are simply uneducated, uninformed sheep. Here are the numbers.... "According to The Washington Post, 737 people have been shot and killed by police this year in the United States. Of that number, there were 329 whites, 165 blacks, 112 Hispanics, 24 members of other races and 107 people whose race was unknown." So while the few NFL players who actually claim to have some idea why they are kneeling are stating it is to "protest" police brutality against blacks, the numbers show that TWICE as many whites are killed by police officers than the number of blacks killed by police officers. These NFL players are simply clueless morons.
Each year I am hired to go to (not me)Washington , DC ,
with the eighth grade class from Clinton ,
WI where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I
greatly enjoy visiting our nation's capitol, and each year I take some
special memories back with me. This fall's trip was especially
On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and
depicts one of the most famous photographs in history -- that of the six brave soldiers raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan, during WW II

Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, 'Where are you guys from?'
I told him that we were from Wisconsin . 'Hey,
I'm a cheese head, too! Come gather around, Cheese heads, and I will tell you a story.'
(It was James Bradley who just happened to be in Washington , DC , to speak at
the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good night to his dad, who had passed away. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington , DC , but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night
When all had gathered around, he reverently began to speak. (Here are his words that night.)
'My name is James Bradley and I'm from Antigo, Wisconsin My dad is on that statue, and I wrote a book called 'Flags of Our Fathers'. It is the story of the six boys you see behind me.

'Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in
the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team.. They were off to play another type of game. A game called 'War.' But it didn't turn out to be a game. Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don't say that to gross you out, I say that
because there are people who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in
Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old - and it was so hard that the ones who did make it home never even would talk to their families about it.

(He pointed to the statue) 'You see this next guy? That's Rene Gagnon from New
Hampshire If you took Rene's helmet off at the moment this photo was taken and
looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph...a photograph of his girlfriend Rene put that in there for protection
because he was scared. He was 18 years old. It was just boys who won the battle of Iwo Jima . Boys. Not old men.
'The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank.
Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the 'old man' because he was so old. He was already 24. When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn't say, 'Let's go kill some Japanese' or 'Let's die for our country' He knew he was talking to little boys.. Instead he would say, 'You do what I say, and I'll get you home to your mothers.'

'The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona . Ira Hayes was one of them who lived to walk off Iwo Jima . He went into the White House
with my dad. President Truman told him, 'You're a hero' He told reporters, 'How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the
island with me and only 27 of us walked off

So you take your class at school, 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes carried the pain
home with him and eventually died dead drunk, face down, drowned in a very shallow puddle, at the age of 32 (ten years after this picture was taken).
'The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop,
Kentucky . A fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. His
best friend, who is now 70, told me, 'Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn't get down. Then we fed them Epsom salts.
Those cows crapped all night.' Yes, he was a fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to
the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother's farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. Those neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

'The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley, from Antigo, Wisconsin , where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews.
When Walter Cronkite's producers or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say 'No, I'm sorry, sir, my dad's not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is
no phone there, sir. No, we don't know when he is coming back.' My dad never fished or even went to Canada . Usually, he was sitting there right at the table eating his
Campbell 's soup. But we had to tell the
press that he was out fishing. He didn't want to talk to the press.
'You see, like Ira Hayes, my dad didn't see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, 'cause they are in a photo and on a
monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a combat caregiver. On Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died. And
when boys died on Iwo Jima , they writhed and screamed, without any medication or help with the pain.

'When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, 'I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima
are the guys who did not come back. Did NOT come back.'

'So that's the story about six nice young boys.. Three died on Iwo Jima , and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7,000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history
of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time.'
Suddenly, the monument wasn't just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero
for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.
One thing I learned while on tour with my 8th grade students in DC that is not mentioned here is . . that if you look at the statue very closely and count the number of 'hands' raising the flag, there are 13. When the
man who made the statue was asked why there were 13, he simply said the 13th hand was the hand of God.

Editor's note: And that, Mr. Kaepernick, is just one of the many reasons we don't take a knee to the flag.