DENVER -- The most important part of a football game starts before kickoff for a Colorado Gold Star family. Glenn Beine has not missed the national anthem at any sporting event ever since his stepson was killed in Afghanistan.
U.S. Marine Cpl. David M. Sonka was killed during a combat operation alongside his K9 named Flex. Shortly after his death in 2013, his family was presented with the flag that was draped over his coffin. That flag is displayed in his family's home as a constant reminder of his sacrifice.
For Beine, the flag brings back memories of his stepson's casket arriving at Dover Air Force Base.
"There are many perspectives on this issue, the flag in and of itself means many things to many people," said Beine.
Ever since Cpl. Sonka's death, he has made it a point to never miss the national anthem.
The tipping point for Beine came when 32 Broncos players took a knee during the anthem when the team faced off against the Buffalo Bills on September 24.
Beine, a longtime Broncos fan, went to the next home game but he left right after the Star-Spangled Banner. Before he left Mile High Stadium, he set up a display with photos of Cpl. Sonka and a small folded flag, as seen below:
"And my feeling is, they're disrespecting David and everybody else that has defended it [what the flag represents], though I think that David and all the veterans would agree that this is one of the reasons they signed up, was to defend America and people's right to do exactly what the football players are doing," said Beine.
A week after the majority of the Broncos team kneeled for the anthem, they decided going forward that the team would stand when the song is played.
The Denver Broncos released a statement last month. It reads in part:
Make no mistake - our actions were in no way a protest of the military, the flag or those who keep us safe. We have nothing but the deepest love and respect for those who protect our way for life and the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.
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