Colin Kaepernick may have started the kneeling in protest of America’s national anthem, but Stephen Martin, owner of Prime Time Sports in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has started a patriotic rising unlike anything that’s ever been done before.
Martin first took a stand when NFL player Brandon Marshall refused to stand for the anthem. Immediately, Martin cancelled Marshall’s scheduled autograph signing event in his store. But he wasn’t done. He replaced the star’s event with something entirely different in his store, and in one week, it has grown to epic proportions that he can hardly even keep up with now.
He put out a post on Facebook, respectfully disagreeing with the disrespect of the nation’s flag and anthem, then proceeded to explain just what the flag means to him, and the sacrifice of all the men and women who have fought for it. Martin invited people to send photos of their loved ones who are veterans, in active service, or who have been injured or given their lives in the line of duty.
The photos started pouring in from all across the country, and as fast as they were emailed, Martin printed them off and taped them to his store front window. Americans are sharing their photos and stories on his Facebook page, as well as sending to him through email, and each day he has posted photos of the progress.
“Day #3 “Honor The Flag”. 77 photos went up today. Our flag has been soaked in blood and sweat represented by these pictures, but it is the “words with tears” that come with them, that keep it wet.
Email your photo: [email protected]”
“Day #4 “Honor The Flag”. 128 photos went up today and I am still moved by the stories with each photo.”
“Day 7 “Honor The Flag” memorial wall. 190 photos just went up. It has been difficult keeping up with personal responses to each photo. At 62 I still need my afternoon naps. Please do not see my lack of correspondence to each photo as anything disrespectful.”
Thursday morning, he said, “Woke up to 190 emails this morning. They are coming in faster than I can read, get downloaded and over to Walgreens to get printed.”
America has truly answered Martin’s call to “hear the voice of the American flag.”
Below is his original Facebook statement that started Martin’s “Honor The Flag” memorial wall.
My name is Stephen Martin and I own Prime Time Sports in the Chapel Hills Mall. A month before the NFL season began I made an agreement with Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos to have a public autograph signing.
After Thursday night’s opening game I decided to cancel this event and soon after my store phones and social media pages were lit up with the kind of words that no business owner ever wants to here.
I respect Brandon Marshall’s freedom of expression, but I question his method of delivery. I agree that his concerns need to be addressed, but not at the expense of our flag and what it represents.
There have been times in the last week where I have gone AWOL to my heart by my silence, but now I have been awakened by the memory of my wife’s father Kenneth J Porwoll who survived the Bataan Death March.
He was thrown into the hull of a cargo ship called the Taga Maru where he was sandwiched with hundreds of other soldiers without room to even lie down while being hauled to Japan where he was a POW for 3 1/2 years. He was saturated in human sweat, urine and fecal matter for weeks in plus 100 degree heat without food, water or medical care and to this store owner that story is a better use of the word “deplorable”.
I was at this man’s funeral. I saw the American Flag draped over his coffin. I was there when that folded American Flag was handed to his wife, Mary Ellen Porwoll. I heard that 21 gun salute.
This store owner believes that the simple act of standing during our national anthem is a noble and responsible gesture that salutes our nation and the military that protects it. Now I want to stand up and hear the voice of the American Flag and I need your help.
I am asking for photos of your loved ones that are veterans, in active service, who have been injured in the line of duty or who have paid the ultimate price. I will post these photos on my store front windows under the banner, “These people have sacrificed for the ideas represented by our flag. We honor them”.
I got this powerful vision that we can cover these windows top to bottom and side to side and proclaim our support for these United States of America. Will you help me build this wall of honor?
Photos can be brought in or mailed to Prime Time Sports, 1710 Briargate Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80920 or emailed to [email protected]
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