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97-Year-Old WWII Vet Who Took a Knee in Support of NFL Players Takes Internet By Storm


97-Year-Old WWII Vet Who Took a Knee in Support of NFL Players Takes Internet By Storm

This is sweet. A 97-year-old World War II veteran from Willard, Missouri took a knee Sunday morning in support of NFL football players’ protests, and his grandson’s photo of it took Twitter by storm.

“My grandpa is a 97-year-old WWII vet & Missouri farmer who wanted to join w/ those who #TakeaKnee,” Brennan Gilmore tweeted about John Middlemas.

Then, quoting his grandfather, Gilmore added: “Those kids have every right to protest.”

Middlemas took his knee around 9:30 a.m. Sunday, an hour and a half before legions of NFL players, coaches and owners would be reacting to President Donald Trump’s criticism of player protests during the national anthem.

Trump on Sunday called for NFL team owners to fire or suspend players who kneel during the national anthem, and he encouraged fans to boycott the games. But his comments led to more protests by NFL players, coaches, and owners.

During a speech at a rally in Huntsville, Ala. on Sept. 22, 2017, Trump said that any player that sits during the national anthem is a “son of a b*tch.” The president also rescinded NBA champ Stephen Curry’s invitation to the White House.

By mid-afternoon Monday, Gilmore’s tweet of his grandfather’s solidarity demonstration had been retweeted more than 150,000 times, had drawn some 400,000 likes, and generated over 5,000 replies.

“My Grandpa has been an ally to the civil rights movement for many years,” Gilmore said in a follow-up tweet. “He’s an amazing man always on the side of justice.”

“I wanted to communicate what I always told to my grand-kids and everybody else,” Middlemas told The Springfield News-Leader Sunday. “When they’d go to bed at night, we’d tell the kids we wanted to be like Jesus.”

Many Twitter responders praised Middlemas for his military service.

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