Diverse America shares feelings about US flag, anthem

Across the U.S., people are talking about symbols of American patriotism after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem.

They include a Vietnam veteran in Texas who tears up thinking about the flag and a gay San Francisco photographer offended by what he sees as disrespect for a symbol of the greatest country in the world.

Here are some voices:

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Athar Siddiqee is a 51-year-old Muslim who moved to the U.S. from India with his parents when he was a baby. The Sunnyvale, California, resident says that to immigrants, the flag is a beloved symbol of this country.

''However, the fact that it is so open and tolerant gives someone the right not to stand for the anthem,'' he says. ''The people who are saying move to another country are missing the point.''

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Paul Margolis, 63, is the grandson of Jews who emigrated from Russia in 1905.

He feels strongly about respecting American symbols and is offended by the protest.

''I choose to live in San Francisco. I choose to live in America because this is the greatest place to live,'' he says. ''There's no better place to live, there's no place better, especially as a gay person.''

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Sandra Malone of Tampa, Florida, is an 81-year-old Christian who loves God, country and family. She says people who do not stand for the singing of the national anthem are misguided.

''When I see the flag, I want to get up. If I hear some music, I want to march. I'm just that patriotic, and everyone should stand up when the flag goes up and when it's raised,'' she says.

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Paul Martinez is a 72-year-old retired telecommunications businessman from Flower Mound, Texas. He served in Vietnam.

Martinez reveres the flag and the anthem makes him cry. He thinks about his friends who died in Vietnam.

''I love the flag. I love this country. I love the freedom. I love us being able to love God, worship God, pursue our lives and happiness,'' he says.

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Nancy Recinos is an 18-year-old college freshman who grew up in San Jose, California. Her parents are from El Salvador.

She is proud to be an American but says she has no strong feelings about the U.S. flag. She is surprised by the controversy: ''It's just a flag to me.''

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