This Veteran Doesn’t Kneel

By | September 14, 2020

[September 14, 2020]   My first tour of duty in the U.S. Army was in West Germany; the year was 1974 and before the wall came down.  While in-processing on a military base in the city of Bad Wimpfen, I was given a 12-hour pass that I used to tour the old city.  There I met an old man who had been in the German Army during World War II.  We talked for hours, but one of my clear memories was that he said that he doesn’t kneel for anyone (a close translation).

He had been a simple Infantryman, enlisting in 1944 when he turned 17 years of age.  Like the rest of his family, it was a matter of pride to be part of Germany’s wars, but later, after brutal fighting on the Eastern Front in Russia, he was disillusioned by so much destruction and bloodshed.  He was a proud man and lived to tell the story when one of his officers ordered the German soldiers to kneel in front of him to show total obedience to his officers.  This German, now an old man, refused.

Ego non vir genua ante.” – Latin, “I kneel before no man.”

I often write about courage here in my blog at www.theleadermaker.com.  It is, to be sure, easy to write about it but something else to practice it.  Further, I have commented on the difficulties of moral courage, as distinguished from physical courage, and the need for people with moral courage to speak and write their real thoughts and stand by their convictions, even to their detriment (see here, here, and here).

There’s an old saying in the Bible that “… you will know the truth, the truth will set you free.”1  But what is not said is that this is true only when we develop the skills, the habit, the talent, and the moral courage to use it.  I learned this long ago on the training I received in the Army, from many great leaders, and on the battlefields where courage is no rare trait.  I learned from that old German that if you kneel to others, you are a sycophant at best but more likely you are a groveling coward.

The kneeling phenomenon demanded by radical leftists in the wake of George Floyd’s death runs counter to how Americans are taught.  Growing up in the Deep South, we called this being “yella” – a derisive term for cowardice.  We know from the many centuries of human behavior that kneeling doesn’t satisfy the tyrant or the bully.  Kneeling is submission to the whims of other humans.  You become less of a person to others, a sacrifice of your humanness.  It is never virtuous to be victimized by a bully, even if that bully is oneself.

The old German never kneeled.  A hero never kneels.  And this veteran doesn’t kneel either.

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  1. John 8:32, ESV of the Bible: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%208:31-32&version=ESV
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

59 thoughts on “This Veteran Doesn’t Kneel

  1. Purses 5

    I think the bad guys crashed your website because it went down right after you posted “This veteran doesn’t kneel.” ❤️❤️

    1. Newbie Yunger

      Yes, and as it should be. Any one who kneels before another person out of coercion or force has, for themselves, become a slave.

  2. Joe Omerrod

    — and you never should. Thanks Gen. Satterfield, you are making us braver each day.

  3. Andrew Dooley

    If you had asked me a year ago about this, it would not have crossed my mind that any one would kneel before others because of something like ‘collective guilt’ which is a falsehood. Well written article and should be read by many.

  4. Alberto Alvarez

    I support everything written here. Gen. Satterfield is a far better person than anyone who kneels.

    1. Delf A. "Jelly" Bryce

      Great comment. Like others here, I’m proud to say that I know Gen. Satterfield and that he – like so many of our military and police officers – is the type of people the USA needs today.

      1. Nick Lighthouse

        Hey “Jelly” great to see you back on Gen. Satterfield’s leadership page. I’m looking forward to your next article.

  5. Deplorable John

    I too am proud to be an American and I will never kneel to others; even if my life depended upon it.

  6. old warrior

    I’m happy your website is back up and running again. Thanks for what you do. I’ll be short this time and give my comments clearly & precisely (ha ha). Those who stand for what is right and refuse to pander, kneel, acquiesce, etc. are heroes in my book. Hang in there, never ever ever kneel before man, and always stay on the right side of America (else you might get your butt kicked).

    1. ARay Pittman

      Yeah, don’t you just hate those folks who kneel down before others. My female German Shephard dog is strong, yet supportive. She’s no alpha dog but she doesn’t put up with the kind of crap these whackos in Congress do.

  7. Dennis Mathes

    Gen. Satterfield, I see that your website is back up and running. I went back and re-read this article and although I commented before, I would like to add that this is one of the better articles you’ve mentioned. Many of the comments I read earlier are now gone and most were excellent additions to your well-written brave article. Thanks.

    1. Army Captain

      It is unseal to have someone willing to stand up and be counted. Like the Police Chief Dave Booth in yesterday’s blog post, I find that it is not so easy to have moral courage, show it, and put yourself out there for the “cancel culture” folks (immature & unethical) who want to destroy people with a different opinion.

  8. Nick Lighthouse

    All it takes is one good man to stand up. Then, slowly perhaps, but over time someone else will take a stand as well. Then another and another. Soon, many will be willing to stand and then it becomes important and others will notice. But, I suggest that we must understand what is truly evil and what is masquerading as evil. Much of this “social justice” stuff is itself evil – a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    1. Drew Dill

      Cowardice is infectious, as is courage. It starts with one man, then we have the first step of a long journey that only those willing to stand for good can make a difference.

  9. Orange Man

    This article by Gen. Satterfield is important for everyone of us here. It tells us where he stands and that he is unwilling to subject himself to appease others, throw away his values, or live safely if he has to give up to what he thinks is “good.” I liked the story of the old German Infantryman. Well done, Gen. S. More articles like this are welcome anytime.

    1. Janna Faulkner

      Hey Orange Man, you’re right and Gen. Satterfield is to be commended. But it takes more than standing up to evil, one must be willing to sacrifice every thing. Otherwise, it matters not.

    1. Karl J.

      Yes, one of the best, most responsible political ads I’ve seen.

  10. Edward M. Kennedy, III

    The fact that the whole kneeling “movement” (I don’t think it’s a real movement) is based in neo-Marxist ideology should give us all pause to think, really!, do we want to adopt a line of thinking that led to the killing of more than 100 million in the 20th century? I think not.

  11. Lynn Pitts

    I think America is coming out of its slumber on this issue. We see it in the booing of NFL football players who kneel and the backlash against politicians who kneel (like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Shumer). We see the building rejection of nihilism and hatred that is currently the underpinnings of the kneeling movement. We will, soon I hope, be able to look back and see this was a major mistake and we will also see who did the kneeling and know that they are cowards and can’t be counted upon to stand with good.

    1. Harry B. Donner

      Lynn, I hope you are right. The upcoming USA election for President will be a test. Will be continue to slide toward nihilism and evil (yes, I use that world purposefully) or decide once and for all to lift ourselves and others up.

      1. Mr. T.J. Asper

        Vote for Trump is a vote for sanity, a vote for Biden is for chaos and violence, for corruption of the political system, and for unfair justice.

      2. Newtown Manager

        Good comment Lynn. I think, IMHO, that we are only at the very beginning but will it be enough?

        1. old warrior

          Movements based on moral standards are always slow to develop under conditions of violence like we are experiencing now. Let’s see how things go over the next couple of months. I suggest, however, that we all display courage and not KNEEL FOR ANY MAN. Kick their ass instead.

  12. Roger Yellowmule

    Great job on this article today, Gen. Satterfield. We never doubted where you stand. We know from a many-year article writing string that you will stand up before evil and make it clear that you will not tolerate destruction of our culture.

    1. Sadako Red

      No man should ever doubt where we stand on important issues. Let it be known that I will never kneel to any man but I will stand for the flag and for God. I’m no pantywaisted, commie, pinko slimball like so many cowards I see today at universities, in political office, or burning the American flag, rioting, looting, and arson.

      1. William DeSanto

        Yeah, you are my hero. Thanks “RED”, tell us like you think! Loving your comment. Best of today.

  13. Albert Ayer

    Bravery is too rare these days and too many politicians show us that they have none. When a person takes a knee before others, the symbology is clear – they hate and envy others. This is no way to underlay ones goals in life.

  14. Tomas C. Clooney

    You just gotta love this website. Courage is a good thing but let’s also not forget that courage must be accompanied by responsibility to self and others. Without responsibility, we have a false courage that makes one a fanatic.

    1. Willie Shrumburger

      A false courage, never heard of that but you have a great point Tomas.

  15. Max Foster

    Warmed my heart to read today’s article. I also got my blood pumping a little extra too. We all somehow, deep down in our hearts, understand that courageous action means something good and that kneeling like so many high profile people have done is a terrible subjugation of our being.

  16. Kenny Foster

    You are a brave soul, Gen. Satterfield. Thank you again for what you do for us. You are setting the example of how to be a good leader, father, husband, and member of your community. This is all we ask of anyone. But for the others who are cowards to take a knee and stand against America and our values, it spit on you.

    1. Linux Man

      OUCH, tell me what you think of all the snowflakes too. Ha Ha Ha Ha…..

    2. Jonathan B.

      Cowardice should never be rewarded. It doesn’t advance the cause of anything but selfishness and that gets us nowhere.

  17. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    We should, at every occasion, show others what courage looks like and in many cases of moral courage, give that person a note saying we support you.

    1. Danny Burkholder

      From this article, key point I thought highlighting.
      “While in America, I kneel before no one – except the Almighty. Video footage nationwide shows law enforcement officers kneeling amid protests against racism and brutality that began last month. Even Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown kneeled amid chants of, “kneel with us,” in a Black Lives Matter protest, June 3, 2020. “

    2. Bryan Lee

      Thank you Tom. I’d not heard that. I admit to not looking at the news much any more and maybe that makes me part of the problem. I should be calling out leaders who encourage violence.

  18. Valkerie

    Another worthy article that reinforces my motivation to came to this site every single day. General Satterfield, well done!

  19. Dead Pool Guy

    “This veteran doesn’t kneel.” Should be the title of your new book. You are writing a new book, yes!, Gen. Satterfield? Let’s all hope so. And don’t let the counter culture Marxists get you down.

    1. Dennis Mathes

      Hey Dead Pool Guy, great suggestion for Gen. Satterfield. I know he is retired but lets keep letting him know we support his education of those who would want to do good.

    2. Benny

      All thumbs up from me folks.
      Gen.Satterfield, please write a book on this subject.
      All of us will help you edit, if you so desire.

  20. JT Patterson

    Well written, Gen. Satterfield. I’m posting this one at work on the breakroom refrig for others to read and think about. I have too many cowards where I work. They would rather stick their heads in the sand of ignorance rather than speak up for what is right and good and moral.

  21. Eric Coda

    Loved it like I love so much of what you write. Thank you for being on the front lines of helping build up people; those who want to do good but sometimes don’t have the moral courage or the smarts to do so.

    1. Anthony "Tony" Benson

      Yes, another top-of-the-line blog post on BRAVERY…. I call it sometimes, just using common sense but I believe deeply that our current educational system discourages acting bravely and encourages us to be cowards. They do that in a number of ways and the way they discourage bravery is to instill them with a false sense of moral superiority.

    2. Yusaf from Texas

      Excellent comment, Eric. I agree! This is yet another example of why I read and listen closely to current and retired military folks like Gen. Satterfield.

      1. Eric Coda

        Thank you Yusaf. There must be those who are willing to help guide those of us who might lack the ‘will’ or maybe we call it the ‘courage’ to stand up and take on the responsibility necessary to help ourselves, our families, our community, and nation. No many do that any more.

  22. Stacey Borden

    Powerful, should be required reading for our youth. ????

    1. Army Captain

      Yes, that is what I hope to know more about as an officer in the US Army.

    2. Bill Sanders, Jr.

      Good comment and yes, I agree wholeheartedly with you and Gen. Satterfield.

      1. Billy Kenningston

        Powerful is only half of it. As leaders we have a moral obligation to study and learn about good and evil, how to tackle evil, and how to make ourselves and our communities better. When we don’t, evil is quick to return. Like the meta stories of the past, the dragon is only one mountain range away.

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