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97-year-old WWII vet takes a knee in support of NFL’s national anthem protests

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A 97-year-old World War II veteran is taking a knee in support of NFL players protesting during the national anthem.

Brennan Gilmore posted a picture on Twitter Sunday morning of his grandfather, John Middlemas, kneeling.

Gilmore wrote: “My grandpa is a 97 year-old WWII vet & Missouri farmer who wanted to join w/ those who #TakeaKnee: ‘those kids have every right to protest.’”

“I wanted to communicate what I always told to my grand-kids and everybody else,” Middlemas told the Springfield News-Leader. “When they’d go to bed at night, we’d tell the kids we wanted to be like Jesus.”

He added, “We don’t kill people. We want to make people live.”

President Donald Trump first posted his thoughts on the protests on Twitter Saturday afternoon.

“If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem,” he wrote. “If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”

On Sunday, players across the league kneeled during “The Star-Spangled Banner” in response to Trump’s criticism.

The picture has more than 319,000 likes and 122,000 retweets on Twitter.