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United States Navy Retired Petty Officer First Class Steven Powell has performed the national anthem at more than 500 sporting events over the years, but the performance where he proudly sang “The Star Spangled Banner” just to have then NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneel is the one that stands out in his mind above all the rest.

Unfortunately, that performance does not stand out for a good reason.

Anthem Singing Navy Officer Recounts Colin Kaepernick’s First Time Kneeling

It was Powell who sang the the national anthem on Military Appreciation Night in San Diego, California on September 1, 2016, when then-quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the song for the first time.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Powell recalled to NBC Sports of that night. “I was just mentally preparing to sing the anthem. I didn’t know what was going on behind me, so I had no idea.”

Related: Fox Sports Host Clay Travis: Colin Kaepernick’s ‘Problems Exceed His Talent’ And He’s ‘No Victim’

Powell was so focused on singing his patriotic song that he did not realize what had happened until afterwards.

“My job was to sing the national anthem the best I could,” he said. “I did not know what happened until after the fact, taking a knee. Then, everything came out and (his) picture was there, and I was there.”

When Powell returned to the field during the third quarter to sing “God Bless America,” Kaepernick stood and applauded. 

“I did not know that,” Powell stated. “I appreciate that he did that. That was very honorable for him to do that and for everyone who stands up and does that.”

Colin Kaepernick Claims He’s Not Anti-America 

Kaepernick claimed afterwards that despite the fact that he was blatantly disrespecting our flag and those who have fought and died for it by kneeling during the national anthem, he has nothing against the United States. 

“I’m not anti-America,” Kaepernick said that first night. “I love America. I love people.

“That’s why I’m doing this,” he added. “I want to help make America better. I think having these conversations helps everybody have a better understanding of where everybody is coming from.”

Related: No More Colin Kaepernicks! New NFL Draft Guidelines Ban ‘Political Statements’ On Clothes

Anthem Singing Navy Officer Wants Unity

Looking back years later, Powell said that he just wants unity in America.

“Put all the other stuff aside and come together as a country and make it work as a country,” Powell said. “So many people want to come here because they want to be a part of this because they’re not getting that anywhere else.

“But they can come here and learn they can have a family and have a family that’s a part of something very special,” he concluded. 

Colin Kaepernick can claim that he’s not anti-America all that he wants to, but he’s shown time and time again that he has little respect for this country.

Even though it’s been over five years now since he first took a knee during our national anthem, we haven’t forgotten.

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