CITY HALL — A former alderman and Vietnam veteran has proposed an ordinance that would require everyone to observe the national anthem, a measure clearly aimed at those who sit it out, such as NFL player Colin Kaepernick.
Former Ald. James Balcer (11th) submitted the ordinance at Wednesday's City Council meeting which calls for current and former military personnel to stand at attention and salute when "The Star-Spangled Banner" is played. All others would be expected to stand, remove their hats, face the flag and hold their right hands over their hearts.
The ordinance did not appear to set any penalty for violations.
NFL San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has drawn criticism for sitting out the national anthem during the preseason in protest of continued racial inequality in the United States. Kaepernick and other NFL players making a protest have since shifted to kneeling during the anthem.
Although Balcer wrote the ordinance, it was formally submitted at Wednesday's City Council meeting by Ald. Edward Burke (14th), who asked Clerk Susana Mendoza to read it aloud. Balcer was not in attendance.
It elicited no initial response from other aldermen, and Burke declined to comment on it after the meeting.
Balcer, who retired with last year's municipal election, has supported veterans' issues before, during and after his political career. He most recently lobbied for the Council to pass a resolution calling for the Cubs, Bulls and Blackhawks to adopt a vacant seat at Wrigley Field and the United Center to honor prisoners of war and those missing in action — a measure passed by the Council at Wednesday's meeting.
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