SPRINGFIELD, Missouri. (WDRB) -- A World War II veteran goes viral after taking a knee to support black NFL players.
The picture posted by the grandson of 97-year-old John Middlemas from Missouri has been shared thousands of times.
Brennan Gilmore wrote on Sunday morning "My grandpa is a 97 year-old WWII vet & Missouri farmer who wanted to join (with) those who #Takeaknee: 'those kids have every right to protest.'"
The kneeling tradition, which is meant to protest police violence against African-Americans, was started in 2016 by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, then playing for the San Francisco 49ers.
Middlemas told the Springfield News-Leader that he has been a civil rights activist for years, so taking a knee was a good way to teach a lesson.
"I wanted to communicate what I always told to my grand-kids and everybody else," Middlemas said.
The WWII vet said he wants to send a message of peace, acceptance and inclusiveness. Middlemas says he spent time serving alongside black members of the military while deployed on a submarine.
Middlemas, who calls the president "garbage-mouthed" says he hopes Donald Trump gets his message, too. The president kicked off a firestorm, after saying that NFL owners whould fire players who protest during the National Anthem by taking a knee.
In 2013, Middlemas participated in Springfield's "Unity March" meant to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech.
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