To Whom it May Concern,

As a fellow Hoosier and loyal American, it disturbed me greatly to learn of the controversy at Goshen College regarding the playing of our National Anthem.

I respect all religious beliefs, and feel that the freedoms of speech and religion that we have in this country are the primary reasons for our greatness as a nation.  Therefore, I am absolutely not criticizing your exercise of both these basic rights.

However, I would like to remind your students who oppose the playing of the National Anthem that they would not have this right except for those who have fought to make our country free.  Their sacrifice, and our country’s ideals are embodied in this anthem.  Listening to the National Anthem should not conflict with their religious beliefs.

A question to ask your students is simply this:  Where else on this planet could they live and exercise their religious and free speech rights so openly, knowing that someone else is taking the risks necessary to preserve the freedoms that they enjoy?  All who have done so deserve to be recognized through the playing of the National Anthem.


Gus Hawkins