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Local News

Joliet mayor denounces national anthem protests

JOLIET – Mayor Bob O’Dekirk last week weighed in on the Colin Kaepernick phenomenon.

O’Dekirk noted two recent incidents of local students not standing up for the national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance while saying community leaders, parents and others should speak out about it.

“I don’t think this is an overwhelming issue in Joliet. This is a very patriotic city,” O’Dekirk said. “But I think this is an issue that needs to be talked about. ... I think this blatant disrespect of the institutions of this country should not be tolerated.”

O’Dekirk made his comments at the end of the Tuesday City Council meeting, when he and council members are free to speak on a range of issues.

O’Dekirk said his comments were motivated by recent Veterans Day ceremonies. He said showing respect for the flag and national anthem was one way to honor Americans who fought for their country.

He declined to identify the “Joliet grammar school” mentioned in his remarks, but said he was told on the Wednesday after Election Day of an incident in which some students refused to stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance.

“I think these young people are obviously misguided,” O’Dekirk said.

He did not identify the high school either. But some students on the Plainfield South High School football team captured media attention when they knelt during the playing of the national anthem at a game in late September.

Kneeling during the national anthem became a trend started by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who said he was doing so because of the treatment of black people and other minorities.

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