Mail call: Letter about taking a knee was spot-on

By John Peterson

Many thanks to fellow veteran Jeff Miller and his letter to the editor, “Taking knee is disrespectful to war dead,” in the March 2024 issue.

I totally agree. Many things change in each generation. In my day, the ’40s and ’50s, the word “drugs” meant going to the local drug store. The money trail meant putting pennies into the piggy bank. George Mikan, Mr. Basketball from the Minneapolis Lakers, earned $25,000 a year. Now Mr. Basketball from the L.A. Lakers earns about $48 million a year.

The “taking a knee” started a few years ago with pro sports athletes kneeling down. One pro football player started the long hair to the waist. Soon, the above and many other things changed and caught on both to college and to junior and senior high schools. Coaches from all sports joined the money trail. College football players are changing schools and also refusing to play for a bowl game.

Who is to blame? Parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, school boards, the general public, or all of the above?

In my days, we were a one-car family and also one driver. At the age of 6, I already had a Social Security card for all my after-school jobs. We brought shotguns to school and put them in our lockers with the OK from our teachers. We even had a rifle club at school.

In those years, World War II and the Korean War were going on. With all that going on, no one ever thought of shooting or killing anybody. In the ’50s and ’60s, a church in our small town of 5,000 had 40 to 50 students who went to religious instruction every Wednesday and were confirmed. Now, the same church has seven or eight students being confirmed, and that’s if they are lucky.

We were all taught to be respective to our elders. My 4-foot-9-inch grandmother ran the house. We had to be home by 6 p.m. for supper. If we were late, the next meal would be the next day at 6:45 a.m. My grandfather worked on the railroad, and the only driver of the house. That meant we all walked to school (12-14 blocks), work or play.

In the sports world, a large amount of students including my older brother and me would have participated, but we could not because of our jobs. Our coaches were great but also demanding both in sportsmanship and in appearance.

Standing for the national anthem? You had better believe that! Otherwise, you were no longer on any team — that also was Bud Grant’s style.

Nowadays, at 2 to 3 p.m. each day after school, the TVs, computers and cellphones go into action. Social media takes over. Parents have allowed AK-15s and other guns to be unsecured in the house. Manners and respect are not present in the home and in our schools. Winning is more important than anything else.

If one follows pro sports, look at the money trail and the changes of coaches. The amazing thing is that the players earn more than the coaches! The pro sports arena has gone bananas with baseball players that are hitting .185 earning millions of dollars. The money trail is much more important than standing for the national anthem. This, to them and to the millions of students watching TV with their friends, is the priority that is passed on to our new generation.

My dad was in the Army during World War I. My older brothers was an artillery observer in the Korean War and in combat for two years. I spent six years in the Army during the Vietnam War. My three sons were all in the Navy for four years, which included the Persian Gulf War.

Maybe, in my opinion, we should go back to the military draft and that might make our children and generations more respectable — not only to our veterans but also to each other.

Again, thanks to Mr. Miller for his letter.

John Peterson

Hibbing Post 222