SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A 97-year-old World War II veteran from Missouri went viral on Sunday after his grandson tweeted a photo of the man kneeling on the ground in support of NFL players.
“Those kids have every right to protest,” Brennan Gilmore quoted his grandfather, John Middlemas, as saying.
Several NFL players took a knee during the national anthem before games Sunday in protest of remarks President Donald Trump made at a rally in Alabama on Saturday.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b**** off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,’” Trump told a crowd in Huntsville, Alabama.
Instead of taking a knee, most players opted for a show of unity, locking arms during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” But several others opted to kneel, including many with the Broncos.
But the image of a World War II veteran defending the rights of Americans to peacefully protest quickly went viral.
“I wanted to communicate what I always told my grandkids and everybody else,” Middlemas told the Springfield News-Leader. “When they’d go to bed at night, we’d tell the kids we wanted to be like Jesus.
“I’m trying to say that you have to love everybody. We don’t kill people. We want to make people live.”
On Sunday, Gilmore tweeted “My grandpa, my hero.”