To disrespect our flag and/or protest the playing of our national anthem is a right guaranteed to every American by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

This freedom is not free, it comes at an extremely high cost.

Most of our share has been paid by the U.S. Armed Forces over the last 240 years, the balance of our share is being paid by the families and loved ones of those who unselfishly sacrificed life and limb in order to secure and defend our independence and freedoms.

The cost: 698,566 lives lost on the battlefield; 1,216,352 wounded in action; 40,917 still missing in action (most of whom will never be found).

I think it’s safe to assume that those who choose to show disrespect to our flag have never seen one handed to a family member or a friend at a graveside service with military honors.

Don C. Gardner