An Open Letter to Col. Jeffrey Powers, USMC

An Open Letter to Col. Jeffrey Powers, USMC
Photo courtesy of Youtube

Marine Col. Jeffrey A. Powers,

Recently, an acquaintance posted a letter, attributed to you.   I've gone on to see it in a few other places as well.


I’ve been a season pass holder at Yankee Stadium, Yale Bowl and Giants Stadium.
I missed the ’90-’91 season because I was with a battalion of Marines in Desert Storm. 14 of my wonderful Marines returned home with the American Flag draped across their lifeless bodies. My last conversation with one of them, Sgt Garrett Mongrella, was about how our Giants were going to the Super Bowl. He never got to see it.
Many friends, Marines, and Special Forces Soldiers who worked with or for me through the years returned home with the American Flag draped over their coffins.
Now I watch multi-millionaire athletes who never did anything in their lives but play a game, disrespect what brave Americans fought and died for.
They are essentially spitting in the faces and on the graves of real men, men who have actually done something for this country beside playing with a ball and believing they’re something special! They’re not!
My Marines and Soldiers were!

You are complicit in this!
You’ll fine players for large and small infractions but you lack the moral courage and respect for our nation and the fallen to put an immediate stop to this.
Yes, I know, it’s their 1st Amendment right to behave in such a despicable manner. What would happen if they came out and disrespected you or the refs!
I observed a player getting a personal foul for twerking in the end zone after scoring. I guess that’s much worse than disrespecting the flag and our National Anthem. Hmmmmm, isn’t it his 1st Amendment right to express himself like an idiot in the end zone?
Why is taunting not allowed yet taunting America is OK? You fine players for wearing 9-11 commemorative shoes yet you allow scum on the sidelines to sit, kneel or pump their pathetic fist in the air. They are so deprived with their multi-million dollar contracts for playing a freaking game! You condone it all by your refusal to act. You’re just as bad and disgusting as they are. I hope Americans boycott any sponsor who supports that rabble you call the NFL. I hope they turn off the TV when any team that allowed this disrespect to occur, without consequence, on the sidelines. I applaud those who have not.
Legends and heroes do NOT wear shoulder pads. They wear body armor and carry rifles.

They make minimum wage and spend months and years away from their families. They don’t do it for an hour on Sunday.
They do it 24/7 often with lead, not footballs, coming in their direction. They watch their brothers carted off in pieces not on a gurney to get their knee iced. They don’t even have ice!
Many don’t have legs or arms.

Some wear blue and risk their lives daily on the streets of America. They wear fire helmets and go upstairs into the fire rather than down to safety. On 9-11, hundreds vanished. They are the heroes.
I hope that your high paid protesting pretty boys and you look in that mirror when you shave tomorrow and see what you really are, legends in your own minds. You need to hit the road and take those worms with you!

Time to change the channel.
Col Jeffrey A Powers USMC (Ret)

Please let me start by saying that I don't watch football. I can actually remember the last game I saw. The Chicago Bears were in the SuperBowl.  Devin Hester ran a touchdown on the kickoff.  I fell asleep shortly thereafter, to wake up to a 29-17 loss for the home team.

I don't even recall the first time I ever heard the name Colin Kaepernick.  I do recall it had nothing to do with his playing however.  A friend messaged me, asking what I thought of this quarterback kneeling during the National Anthem.  They wanted to know how I felt about it as a veteran.

I asked "Why exactly is he kneeling?"

I was then sent a video in which Colin Kaepernick said,

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

I'd like you to stop reading for a minute. I'd love for you to sit with those words, preferably in silence.  Go ahead...go back and read them again.

One word that pops out to me in that quote, as I think about your letter, is selfish.

Your letter to the commissioner was steeped so deeply in selfishness, I can't even begin to rationalize it, let alone dissect it and attempt to explain it. Because of this, I will simply offer a few thoughts from my perspective, as an African American Army veteran who also fought for this country.

Colonel, if you don't understand that in 2017, people with skin darker than yours don't always get a fair shake in this country, you need to get with the times and shake off your ignorance.  In 2017, not every man or woman in this country gets equal access to opportunity.  As someone who fought for this country, that fact should burn your hide.  The fact that it doesn't speaks volumes about you.

When you speak of defenders of the Constitution, you are speaking about me. Please don't drag me into your distorted views of life, or the tenets that make up this beautiful country.  It's obvious that your knowledge of the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence are shoddy at best.  Perhaps you spent too much time in foxholes and not enough time in books.  You have the gall to ask the NFL commissioner to violate the 1st Amendment rights of it's players, and you want to insinuate that you are a hero?  Sir, I can't think of anything any more un-American than that.

I challenge you to show me where either the flag, or the national anthem is mentioned in either of the aforementioned documents.  Allow me to help you...they're not.  What is mentioned in that amendment you speak of are the freedoms of speech and peaceful assembly being unabridged.

Furthermore, people sitting or standing for a song has nothing to do with soldiers, their graves, or even war.  To insinuate that it does not only cheapens their memory, but needlessly clouds the already murky waters of political debate our country is enduring. When you talk about men who fought for their country, you're also talking about me...and please don't ever talk for me.

These protests are about the egregious treatment, still in 2017, that segments of our society have to endure, at the acquiescence of the President of the United States no less, and those people who have the guts to say something about it.

The saddest part of this to me, is that someone with your credentials, someone who has led men into war for this country, some of them African American undoubtedly,  would look beyond the true causes of these protests, and talk about a flag...and about song.  That says to me that you don't really care about the true causes. I can only imagine what men who were under your leadership must think of this fact.

You want to continue being a defender of the Constitution?  Don't let shitty people shit on their fellow Americans just because of the color of their skin.  Fight for justice for all people...and support those who fight against injustice when you don't have the courage.

Colonel, I would love to hear from you and discuss these matters further. I hope you read this. I want you to know the failings of your perceived knowledge, and I don't want you to be able to feign ignorance in this regard.   I want you be able to fully own your  ignorance, and any prejudice your heart may hold. 

May this letter find you and your family well.  Thank you sir!

Sgt. Dion McGill, Army (Honorably Separated)

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