MHS kids are patriotic

All I can say after reading Carol Jensen-Linton’s opinion (Feb. 10) that McIntosh students dissed our national anthem is, “How dare you!”

Carol and I have been friends for over a decade, but I vehemently disagree with everything she said. Our national anthem was NOT desecrated by McIntosh students, nor do I believe the Starr’s Mill soloist is due an apology because she was taken aback by the McIntosh students’ spirited lyric change.

I’m a third-generation military veteran, having retired in 1998 after a 22-year active duty career as an intelligence officer.

One of my ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War, and my great uncle 10 generations ago came over on the Mayflower. My late younger sister — one of the Navy’s first female surface line (combatant ship) officers — is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

My son is about to be the fourth-generation military officer in our family, having earned appointments to the Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy, in addition to a full Navy ROTC scholarship and a full Air Force ROTC scholarship. My son’s classmates have appointments to West Point, Annapolis, the AF Academy, and at least one is going to the Citadel.

My son’s classmates are the children, grandchildren and siblings of veterans. Plus, my son and a good number of his peers are Eagle Scouts. Bottom line: McIntosh students are a patriotic bunch.

All that said, it does not bother me one bit that McIntosh students loudly replace the word “brave” with the word “Chiefs” when the national anthem is played.

Not only does that exact same thing take place at every home game the Kansas City Chiefs play at Arrowhead Stadium, but fans of our very own Atlanta Braves even add an “s” to “brave” when the national anthem is played. I wonder if Carol has sent a letter to the Braves management about that?

The spirit McIntosh students have for their school is derived from their love and patriotism for America — I know that is the case with my son and his classmates.

They are glad to have the freedom to enjoy a high school basketball game on a Friday evening and engage in some crosstown rivalry. They are glad they have the freedom to sing the national anthem — and yes, change the last word — before a sporting event.

Just because they do this does not make them disrespectful or unpatriotic. I know for a fact that my son and his classmates all realize their freedoms have been paid for by veterans like their parents, family members and neighbors.

As the lyrics of our national anthem say, this is “the land of the free,” and, in my view, that includes freedom of speech, no matter how much one may disagree with the words that come out of another person’s mouth. I know that is one of the freedoms I swore to protect and defend when I was commissioned back in 1976.

Cele Eifert, Lt. Colonel, USAF (Ret.)

McIntosh HS PTSO President

Peachtree City, Ga.