Did Northwestern Cross the Line?

Jared Wickerham

**Let me start by saying that this is my opinion and not necessarily those of the rest of the Big Cat Country staff** Being a part of the military during the current social climate is most likely one of the most overlooked aspects of servicemen and women today. We have reached the point where we can look at the way that many companies, schools, businesses, and organizations seek to honor our wounded, our veterans, and our lost and critique, often times unfairly, the method behind each group's actions.

As a wounded warrior, I see no problem with Northwestern's uniforms. I actually find it incredibly humbling that people now care so much about wounded warriors. I never thought that this would be the case.

When I returned from Iraq, there was very little attention given to my small group of dog handlers. We deployed differently than most. We went with a group of only 50 or so members and our dogs. From that group of 50, 3 were shot, one was killed, 2 were blown up in IED strikes, dogs were lost, and lives were forever changed.

We walked off the plane in California without a single banner, a single flag, a single family member. It was not parade routes and BBQs.

That was fine. Deployments were not about that.

I came home from my deployment as a stronger American with a much greater respect for our flag and the people who have been draped by it. The flag represents much. In his article, Matt Ufford explains the flag's meaning. He does that very well.

Where I think that Matt misses the boat is when we become so sensitive to the use of the flag in different circumstances that are clearly meant to honor those whom have served. This uniform might not be the sexiest item in the world but one thing is for certain, people are talking about the Wounded Warriors.

Even if you see blood on the uniform, is that so bad? Is it so bad to point to the fact that men and women actually bleed under the banner of our flag? Is it bad to see that sometimes the flag is distressed? Is it bad to raise awareness that men and women are laid up in hospitals for months on end because of their injuries?

Sure, it is a nice ideal to think of the flag as a crispy piece of fabric that flies high and never gets dirty. Sure it would be nice if every American held the flag to the same level of respect that the Marine Corps demands from her Marines but that simply is not the case.

I am happy and proud to live in a country that is currently going out of its way to recognize me and my brothers. Can we get better in the way we do things? Sure. But I am not mad at Northwestern or Under Armour for trying.

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