When you’re a veteran, what does service mean to your children?
Kevin Jones, who served in the Army, was interviewed in May in WPLN’s studio as part of StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative. His wife, Regina, asks him about how he responded when their two sons made a public decision at a school sporting event.
“I have two amazing sons. They’re stronger than I am; they’re smarter and faster than I am. … They’re amazing kids.
“Now, don’t tell them I told you that, because I don’t want them to get the big head. Because that’s my job. To push them to be their best. To be the best they can be.”
Jones comes from a military family. He served. His father served. His grandfather served.
So, when Jones’ sons decided to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem at their school, they worried he’d be angry.
“They’ve never seen me take a knee. I always stand for the flag. I appreciate that flag.”
But Jones wanted to know why his sons had decided to demonstrate. Each cited a case of brutality against a young African American.
“And I said, ‘Sons, that is your right. That’s why I served. That’s why [I] fought. … We all have the right to free speech in America. You can do that. So, no, I’m not mad that you took a knee. I’m actually quite proud of you for standing up for something.
“I serve so that you can take a knee.'”
Kevin and Regina’s conversation will be archived in the Library of Congress. This segment of the conversation was produced for WPLN by Tasha Lemley. We have more stories from Tennessee veterans in honor of Veterans Day weekend at wpln.org/storycorps.