Genuflection or genuflexion is the act of bending a knee to the ground, as distinguished from kneeling which more strictly involves both knees. From early times, it has been a gesture of deep respect for a superior.  

Today, the gesture is common in the Christian religious practices of the Anglican, Lutheran, Catholic and Western Rite Orthodox Churches. The Latin word genuflectio, from which the English word is derived, is often referred to as "going down on one knee" or "bowing the knee.” 

In Western culture, one genuflects on the left knee to a human dignitary, whether ecclesiastical or civil. 

Traditionally marriage proposals use genuflection. 

In 328 BC. Alexander the Great introduced into his court-etiquette some form of genuflection already in use in Persia.  

In the Byzantine Empire even senators were required to genuflect to the emperor. In medieval Europe, one demonstrated respect for a king or noble by going down on the left knee, often remaining there until told to rise. It is traditionally often performed in western cultures by a man making a proposal of a marriage proposal.  

The custom of genuflecting, as a sign of respect and even of service, arose out of the honor given to medieval kings. In modern times, when the folded flag of a fallen veteran is offered to the family, the presenting officer will go down on his left knee, if the recipient is seated. 

That is why, once again, President Trump was and is wrong when he claims that Colin Kaepernick disrespected the flag when he took a knee during the National Anthem. 

Colin Kaepernick sacrificed his career for what he believed back in 2017 with a gesture that today has become the symbol of respect for the lives of the oppressed.  

It is ironic that you take a knee in Church to show your respect and devotion for the God you believe in, but you can't take a knee in a football stadium. 

The right to protest isn’t conditional on some declaration of patriotism. It’s inherent to being an American. Indeed — considering how our nation actually came into existence — there’s a much stronger line of argument that holds that protesting societal injustice is the most American act you can do. Loving something and wanting it to be better aren’t mutually exclusive concepts. 

More importantly: Even though that’s not the point of the protest, Kaepernick and his colleagues have already declared their love for America and their respect for the troops — many, many times.  

Just one example: September 2016, when Kaepernick was in uniform for San Francisco’s preseason game against the then-San Diego Chargers. He stood for “God Bless America,” then knelt for the anthem, and later on said: 

“The media painted this as I’m anti-American, anti-men-and-women of the military and that’s not the case at all.’ I realize that men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives and put themselves in harm’s way for my freedom of speech and my freedoms in this country and my freedom to take a seat or take a knee so I have the utmost respect for them. I think what I did was taken out of context and spun a different way.’’ 

Later, he was even more succinct and direct: “Once again, I’m not anti-American. I love America.”


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