A 97-year-old veteran of World War II from Missouri took a knee in tribute to NFL players’ protests during the national anthem, and his grandson took a picture of the gesture of solidarity that has since gone viral.
“My grandpa is a 97 year-old WWII vet & Missouri farmer who wanted to join w/ those who #TakeaKnee,” Brennan Gilmore tweeted alongside a picture of John Middlemas taking a knee on Sunday morning.
“Those kids have every right to protest,” Gilmore added, quoting his grandfather.
The picture was posted after NFL players and personnel reacted in solidarity, kneeling in protest during the national anthem, after President Donald Trump suggested during a rally on Friday that anyone who knelt during the national anthem was a “son of a b***h” who should be fired from the NFL. While Trump encouraged people to boycott games and urged owners to suspend players, the response across the country has also seen support of the protests.
As for Middlemas, the veteran’s picture has generated 48,000 retweets,116,000 likes, and 2,000 replies since being posted on Twitter.
“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 grandkids 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.”
— Brennan Gilmore (@brennanmgilmore) September 24, 2017