CHICAGO -- Veterans, police officers and firefighters assembled nearby Soldier Field Sunday to urge San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick not to kneel during the national anthem at Soldier Field on Sunday. Kaepernick has been taking a knee throughout the season in protest of what he calls the "systematic oppression" of minorities in the united states.
Across from Soldier Field, a stadium dedicated nearly 100 years ago to those who gave their lives serving our country, stands Gold Star Park, a memorial for the 575 Chicago police officers killed in the line of duty. Critics say while they respect Kaepernick's right to freedom of speech, they feel this is not the place to express his views.
"We give everyone a right to voice their point of view, but to do it against our flag is a disgrace," said 100 Club CEO Joe Ahern.
Standing near the Gold Star memorial, retired alderman James Balcer called on Kaepernick to reconsider his protest.
"Think about the symbolism of this structure, think about this memorial, think about the freedoms you have here in this country," Balcer said.
The father of an air national guardsman who was killed in Afghanistan in 2003, Jim Frazier said he felt the gesture is disrespectful.
"My son came home with that flag draped on his coffin and it does hurt when someone disrespects it," jim frazier
Last Sunday, Cuban-Americans in Miami booed Kaepernick, not for his stance on the national anthem but for comments he made praising Fidel Castro after he died. A group supporting Kaepernick is expected to hold a rally at the Gold Star memorial before the game Sunday.