Recently, there has been an increasing number of debates in the U.S. about major icons in our country kneeling during the National Anthem.

Many of these people have consisted of well-known athletes, but most recently, a singer has taken part.

This singer’s name is Denasia Lawrence, and she is a black U.S. citizen who used her moment in the spotlight to continue the kneeling protest meant to spread a message that our country is not currently displaying what our National Anthem truly stands for.

With mistreatments being displayed toward different races and ethnicities, Lawrence was later quoted by ESPN and said, “I took the opportunity to sing and kneel to show that we belong in this country and that we have the right to respectfully protest injustices against us.”

Alan Diaz/ AP

Alan Diaz/ AP

With the constant debate on whether this is truly a patriotic action to take, there are lots of people with very strong opinions on the issue.

This continuous showing of protest has caused a stir all across the country and has been spread throughout various iconic celebrities kneeling for the whole nation to see.

Keene State College junior Nick Leischner served in the Army. He discussed how he is a little “befuddled” by the whole situation.

Leischner said freedom comes at a price, but the price put forth is put forth for indeed just that: freedom.

When Leischner was asked how Lawrence kneeling while singing the National Anthem made him feel, he said, “To be honest, it just really doesn’t make that much sense to me. I just feel like if you want to sing the National Anthem, it is kind of weird that you want to sing for something that you feel so strongly against.”

When asked if he felt disrespected, Leischner said, “I don’t personally feel disrespected and knowing that people have given all they can for this country, it is hard, but at the same time, they’ve given everything for this country so that people can do what they want to do and believe is right, so just because I don’t feel that it is right, it is in the constitution that they can.”

KSC first-year Jack Farnham also weighed in on the issue as a U.S. soldier.

Farnham is in the New Hampshire Army National Guard and is currently serving in the Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP).

When Farnham was asked his opinion, he said, “I serve so I can protect the rights that make this country great. One of those rights is freedom of speech and the right to protest, so I see nothing wrong with that. As long as there is no violence, it is fine with me.”

Furthermore, when touching on whether he felt disrespected as a soldier of our country, Farnham said, “It doesn’t affect me really. If anything, I think it’s good that people are protesting peacefully and exercising their amendments. I do not feel disrespected.”

Samuel Binogono, a sophomore KSC men’s soccer player, weighed in on the issue from an athlete’s perspective.

When asked how he felt about the kneeling protests that have been going on, specifically about Lawrence’s protest, he said, “Some people have their ways of expressing how they feel about racism and homosexuality. This kneeling situation has been going on for a while now. It started with the football players, to soccer players and basketball players also. There [are] many ways people could deal with it, but I think kneeling during the National Anthem is easier for them because thousands of people are watching the game at home, and that will let the world know they are hurt from what is going on around the country.”

Binogono also expressed his personal opinion on how he would feel if one of his teammates were to kneel during the National Anthem.

Binogono said, “I just hope I won’t witness that in any of my teammates. Some players are against the kneeling and some aren’t. I hope that won’t bring more conflict on the field. I just wish people could deal with things differently so that it wouldn’t hurt others feelings or disrespect other’s religion or race.”

Kyle Kemp can be contacted at

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