Op-Comic: What the national anthem means now

Illustrations in comic style of a person with hand over heart standing in front of a US flag.

Gabe Kapler, manager of the San Francisco Giants, has said he won’t stand on the field for the national anthem until he feels “better about the direction of our country.” His statement inspired me to ask some Southern Californians about how they feel — and what they do — during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

I haven't stood for the national anthem for five or six years now. It started with Colin Kaepernick. -S. Fox, 43, San Pedro

I stand up. Remove my hat. ... I don't think empty showings of patriotism are important. -B Saldana, 52, Silver Lake


I get the sentiment of 'I love America, but to love it means to make it better.' -D Chen, 38, LA

Despite our continuing national challenges, US citizenship is still a prized possession in the world. -R Vaudo, 68, San Pedro

In the full version, there's a part about no refuge for the slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.

I don't put my hand over my heart. Feels too dangerous to take a knee. -L Millsap, 60, Mt Wash

I used to proudly stand but since the Trump era not so much anymore. The flag feels tainted these days.


I'm with those who kneel. Hard to think of a more reverent form of protesting police violence.

I choose to sit and scroll through pics of dogs because it's too offensive to yell 'Smash the patriarchy'

Ivan Ehlers is a cartoonist and writer in San Pedro. His work has appeared in the New Yorker and MAD magazine, among other publications. @ivan_ehlers

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