This picture of three men from Waterville showing respect for America strikes a cord with me, because I recently posted on Facebook about my veteran father and the folded flag that was presented to us when he died.

I wrote:

My Dad, who was a Vietnam vet, died many years ago. His funeral was a beautiful military service complete with a traditional 3-volley salute (what civilians call a 21-gun salute). Then, the sound of "Taps" filled the silence after the echo of rifles. Next, the flag on his coffin was carefully folded by members of the Honor Guard. Only the stars were left showing on top. My eyes overflowed with tears when one of the Honor Guard soldiers presented the flag to my stepmother. She was sitting, so he kneeled down to her level and stayed there until she regained her composure. I will never forget his compassion...

My father would have shaken his head at the sight of football players taking a knee during the national anthem. Then, he would have shrugged his shoulders and gone about his business. After 23 years of service to our great country, a war, and a history of high blood pressure, he didn't let much get under his skin. He was a patriotic man who served his country and lost brothers in combat for their rights to protest.

Because I have an immense appreciation for U.S. traditions and symbols, I wonder how these athletes' perspectives would change... if they had been handed a folded flag in their youth.

(Photo Credit: Michelle Lyons Cossar/Facebook)