I was pleased and proud to see (professional football player) Ale Vilianueva standing tall & alone with his hand placed over his heart during the playing of the National Anthem. Here was man and fellow service member who has served his country in defense of our American freedoms … such freedoms that allowed his Pittsburgh Steelers teammates to remain in the tunnel and scores of other team players to take knee.
Standing alone took bravery; he chose not to follow the crowd but to set the example for millions of proud veterans. Some one had to do it and it was a West Point graduate and professional player to show the way.
And so, of course, I was disappointed to hear him tell reporters the following day that he had inadvertently got separated from his team and stepped out too far from the tunnel and then realized he couldn’t retreat. He had his chance to be a silent hero to millions of patriotic citizens – proud to stand for our flag and National Anthem. Unfortunately, he later back tracked and bailed out!
Bob Gmelin, Sonoma