A small group of Sacramento-area veterans went to Tuesday night's city council meeting to make a statement. A half-dozen veterans made their presence known at the City Council meeting by kneeling during the weekly Pledge of Allegiance. The picture of that protest, which taken by NewsRadio KFBK reporter Joe Michaels, has gone viral in a big way on Twitter.Among the former military members to kneel at the meeting was Army Veteran and President of Sacramento’s Chapter of Veterans for Peace John Reiger.
Reiger hopes their action makes it clear that athletes taking a knee are not opposed to the military, but to injustices in the system.
"We served our country. We didn't serve it to support racism or to support police brutality - these things are un-American," says Reiger. "So we're taking a stand. Actually... We're taking a knee."
Reiger says he and his fellow veterans making their statement have no expectations. They were there simply because they feel strongly about the issue.
Army Veteran Paul Leuenberger isn’t bothered by those who take a knee during the National Anthem or Pledge of Allegiance. He calls it "patriotic."
"We're asking for justice, and we have an American tradition of justice and democracy and listening to people," says Leuenberger. "If we sit here and say nothing when it happens, then that's complicity."
During the public comment period, the vets got a smattering of applause for their action.