Navy Sailor Learns A Tough Lesson After Refusing To Stand For The National Anthem
People that decide to join the military usually do so because they feel a certain amount of pride for our country. Joining the service means that they agree to uphold all the rules and regulations that come with it, no matter what the cost. Breaking any of them can result in serious repercussions, including a prison sentence.
This didn't seem to deter Naval Intelligence Specialist Janaye Ervin, who was so consumed with personal political motives - that she decided to break one of these strict military rules. However, she found out the hard way just how serious the military is when it comes to upholding their laws.
Although her actions may seem innocent on the surface, she is also now facing backlash from the American public for her poor choice of timing.
The National Anthem is our pride and joy, and it brings together people of all colors and economic classes. Singing the National Anthem is probably the only time that we can all agree do to something as a bigger whole.
However, Janaye sat down during the National Anthem to make a political statement about the persecution of African Americans by law enforcement. She was trying to duplicate a similar maneuver by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's, who also sat down as the National Anthem played during a recent 49's game.
There's nothing wrong with taking a stance for what you believe in. In fact, every American citizen has the right to peaceful protest. Yet, what is legal for regular citizens may not be so legal in a military court of law.
As an 8-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, Janaye knew better. The requirement to stand during the National Anthem is drilled into recruits at boot camp. But, she decided to break the rules anyways. Unfortunately for her, going against regulations is something the Navy just won't stand for!
In a video that Janaye posted on social media, she can be seen purposely sitting down as the National Anthem played in the background.
"People always want to say you know, men and women have died for this flag. No, correction. Men and women have died for my right and Colin Kaepernick's right to determine whether or not we want to stand or sit."
Well, yes and no. Colin can sit, stand, or dance to whatever song he wants. A Navy sailor has no such right, at least not while in uniform. If she had done this while in civilian clothing off base, then that would be her prerogative to do so.
It turns out that she actually broke military law when she decided to sit down during the National Anthem. Oops!
All Navy personnel are forbidden from engaging in political actions while they are wearing a uniform. That's because a soldier's actions are a direct reflection of the U.S. government.
Let's put it into perspective. Let's say a soldier goes on a rampage in another country, all while in uniform. That country isn't going to blame the individual person, they are going to blame the U.S. military! The Uniform Code of Military Justice exists to prevent this type of rogue behavior on all levels, big or small.
If a soldier can't follow a simple rule, who's to say they'll follow the more important ones?
Based on the reactions on social media, Janaye is not getting much pity or sympathy. Some have asked why she joined the service if she doesn't believe in her own country.
Her act of defiance is considered a slap in the face by everyday red-blooded Americans. Some say it's just as bad as burning the flag. Her behavior may even be viewed as a hate crime against Americans, especially since it was perpetrated by a soldier who is supposed to love the United States. However, that last viewpoint may be getting a bit extreme.
Janaye is just a young woman who was trying to make a point, and sadly it backfired on her. It's something almost all of us have experienced at one time or another.
Janaye made the conscious decision to go against Navy military code of conduct. That is not up for debate. It doesn't even matter what her political statement was, because that's also not the point. No one gets special treatment when they're in uniform. Either you abide by the rules, or you face the consequences.
Janaye knew the consequences, and decided to risk it all. Although serving in the military means that you are fighting to uphold the freedoms of others, in actuality, it also means that some of your own freedoms are taken away in the process. That is the price of joining the service.
In the end, Ex-Petty Officer 2nd Class Janaye Ervin had her security clearance revoked and was shown the hatch. But, her parting words may make your blood boil:
"To be honest, I never really thought about the flag my entire life. I had no reason to: It's just a flag."
Oh, and she also still refuses to stand for the National Anthem.
Watch the video below to see Janaye in action.
Although the military is sometimes seen as an extension of political agendas, it's no place for a soldier to practice their own politics maneuvers. At least not while in uniform.