Throughout the 2016 and 2017 NFL season, the once popular football league has fallen into a mire of controversy. After backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel during the playing of the national anthem as a protest toward police brutality and racial injustice in America, he started a trend that quickly evolved to include many other players who felt the same way. As the pregame ceremony turned into a protest, fans across the country started turning off their televisions and tuning to other programs and sports that matched their level of respect for America and the military who risk their lives serving for freedom.
Significant advertisers pulled their funding from the NFL and teams started selling tickets for as little as $2 each to bribe fans to come and fill out the empty stands. And while the NFL has not bottomed out yet, team owners are terrified that this downward trend will not be sustainable for long. As it stands, the NFL owners and the anthem protesters have not been able to come to terms and figure out a solution to the issue.
While some teams have failed to show their fans that they care about military service people and American patriotism, other teams are actively demonstrating their loyalty to the military. One organization, the Minnesota Vikings, has created a moving tribute to American soldiers that is worthy of viewing. And because it touched the lives of thousands of people, it is now going viral online. You need to see this!
The video first posted back in October can be seen below, when the NFL season was at the height of the controversy.
Marine Corp Recruiting Station Twin Cities shared the video on Facebook where it soon received more than two million hits.
Two United States Marines, in full uniform, were standing as the national anthem played at the Viking’s football arena. But they were not standing to protect the crowd. They had a patriotic purpose.
“Marines stand guard during the Minnesota Vikings game over an empty seat symbolizing those service members who were prisoners of war or missing in action,” the group explained.
In a ritual to rival the grace and patriotism of the famous Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, these Marines silently stood guard over the empty chair at the NFL game to show that they were thinking about those missing in combat or who are held in a military prison. They wanted Americans to remember that servicemen and women cannot always enjoy the luxury of a football game, especially if they’re missing in action or have not yet returned home from duty.
“For every Vikings game, one unfilled seat permanently covered in black and located in section V8 is guarded by current military members,” Vikings.com described when they unveiled the tribute back in 2016 when Colin Kaepernick was simultaneously protesting the anthem.
“Decorated with the POW/MIA logo and set in front of the seals of the five branches of the United States Military, the seat honors military personnel missing and unaccounted-for from all conflicts, including the 1,618 from the Vietnam War.”