If you’re put off by the current wave of anthem kneeling — during which those who stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” are the ones being castigated by the media — Dana Bowman is the perfect corrective for you.
Bowman, a former sergeant first class in the U.S. Army, parachuted into the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, on Aug. 7.
This wasn’t unusual. Bowman, a former Special Forces soldier and member of the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team, has done 4,000 jumps — so, if jumping out of a plane can ever be old hat, I suppose it is for Bowman.
What made it newsworthy was that he parachuted in to the Veterans Ride with the American flag and a “Trump 2020”-emblazoned parachute. And he’s a double amputee, having lost both legs in a parachuting accident during his time in the Army.
“Without what our warriors, veterans, or soldiers have done for us we wouldn’t have our freedom. And that’s why we’re here in Sturgis today,” Bowman told KEVN-TV.
If anyone knows firsthand what veterans have given for America, it’s Bowman. On his website, he describes in graphic detail how he lost his legs.
In 1994, he and his partner, Sgt. Jose Aguillon, “were practicing a maneuver known as the Diamond Track. The maneuver calls for the jumpers to streak away from each other for about a mile and then turn 180 degrees and fly back toward each other crisscrossing in the sky. Bowman and Aguillon had demonstrated the Diamond Track more than fifty times without a mistake, but this time was different.
“Rather than crisscrossing, the two skydivers slammed into each other at a combined speed of 300 miles per hour. Aguillon died instantly. Bowman’s legs were severed from his body, one above the knee and one below the knee. Bowman’s parachute opened on impact. He was taken to a hospital in Phoenix where doctors closed his leg wounds and stopped his internal bleeding.”
However, instead of leaving the service, he re-enlisted in the U.S. Army, becoming the first double amputee to do so. He went on to serve as a recruiting commander and the U.S. Parachute Team’s lead speaker, retiring in 1996.
He’s kept skydiving with two prostheses, though. And no, it’s not old hat for him — at least not when it’s places like the Veterans Ride at Sturgis.
Sergeant First Class Dana Bowman has done over 4,000 parachute jumps from an airplane, and today he parachuted in with the American Flag at the Veterans Ride. https://t.co/pxzdif89qZ
— WNDU (@WNDU) August 11, 2020
“You know it is so exhilarating to be an inspiration to a lot of them,” Bowman said.
“Some are looking for hope. Hope for despondent, courage to the timid and strength to the weak.”
And just in case you were wondering, there were veterans there to catch the flag before it touched the ground.
“And to be able to bring in the American flag, you think about what our veterans have down for us, sacrificing and supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States of America, it means an awful lot,” Bowman said.
Compare this attitude with that of Reggie Cannon, a player for FC Dallas in Major League Soccer.
Cannon, who plays for the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team as well, knelt for the national anthem prior to a game played Wednesday at Toyota Stadium in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas. So did most of the players there.
They were booed by some fans — which appalled Cannon.
“I think it was disgusting. I think it was absolutely disgusting,” Cannon told reporters, according to CNN.
“You got fans booing you for people taking a stand for what they believe in. Millions of other people support this cause and we discussed with every other team and the league what we’re going to do and we’ve got fans booing us in our own stadium. How disgraceful is that? Honestly, for lack of a better word, it p—ed me off.”
Wait — so it’s “absolutely disgusting” when fans take a stand to boo the fact that you’re refusing to stand for the national anthem, but “people taking a stand for what they believe in” by kneeling for “The Star-Spangled Banner” is unimpeachable?
Both Cannon and Bowman have represented the United States in some way — Cannon on the pitch, Bowman in the military.
Cannon is angry that some fans voiced their opinion at his opinion. He’ll almost certainly be treated more uncritically than Bowman, when anyone pays attention to Bowman at all.
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