Do you think that people should be allowed to act based on what they believe when serving in the military, even if it means breaking the military code?
Janaye Ervin, an intelligence specialist in the U.S. navy and an eight-year veteran, became the center of attention because of what she did as an answer to this very question.
Last September, Ervin chose not to stand and salute the flag when the national anthem played at a morning flag-raising at Pearl Harbor.
Ervin defended her action in a Facebook post, writing that she declined to stand because she wanted to protest against the systematic discrimination in the United States.
She said, “I have pledged to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and to spread freedom and democracy around the world.
I made the conscious decision to not to stand for the Star Spangled Banner because I feel like a hypocrite, singing about the “land of the free” when, I know that only applies to some Americans. I will gladly stand again, when ALL AMERICANSare afforded the same freedom.”
While it might have been fine for others to choose not to stand for the national anthem, the fact that Ervin is a military officer complicated the situation.
According to the Uniform Code of Military Conduct, which provides strict rules and obligations for all officers to follow, what Ervin did is a clear violation.
The Code specifically states that all military personnel are strictly prohibited from engaging in political actions while in uniform, and all personnel are required to salute the flag whenever they hear the National Anthem.
As a result, Ervin faced punishment for her transgressions, in addition to losing her security clearance. The day after Ervin refused to stand for the anthem, she was sent to the Executive Transportation Office and had to perform manual labor – such as washing cars, pulling weeds, and cleaning the locker rooms.
When reading the comments on her Facebook post, it’s clear that people have mixed feelings about Ervin’s choice not to stand during the anthem.
While some people thought that her actions were brave and should not face any punishment from the Navy, others criticized her because she disobeyed the rules.
What do you think?
Should she be punished for breaking the rules?
To learn more about Ervin’s actions, check out the video below –