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Local veterans react to Aaron Rodgers call for unity during Thursday night game

Wisconsin (CBS 58) -- Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers' call for fans to link arms during Thursday night game is a challenging issue for some veterans. Many are big packers fans and they did not necessarily want to get involved with the discussion about the NFL and the national anthem.

On Tuesday John Genz, a veteran, walked with his young son back to the Milwaukee VA Medical Center. He served from 2004 to 2009. He says he has PTSD and he still feels pain from his injuries.

"A bullet actually struck me in here, shattering my chest bone," Genz said.

"I wasn't able to pick [my son] up and hold him like a regular father should," Genz said.

Growing up in Oshkosh, Genz said he watched the Packers. But Aaron Rodgers recent call for action during the national anthem is difficult for him.

"I think it's disrespectful. Extremely disrespectful. I mean, how many men and women have died - sacrificed arms, legs for a flag," Genz said.

Rodgers' call for unity is an evolution of Colin Kaepernick's protest last year -  taking a knee during the national anthem to raise awareness of situations when young black men were killed by police.

Other veterans - including Tim Richards outside of Veterans Manor - say President Donald Trump villainized Kaepernick and misconstrued his message.

"What he said and what the man did - taking a knee, is it the same? You know, I don't think so," Richards said.

Albert M. Holmes - a U.S. Airforce Veteran and former Vice President of the Center for Veterans Issues - had this to say:

"They're not disrespecting the flag. They're not disrespecting the country. They're not disrespecting anyone. They're voicing their right to have their own opinion about situations," Holmes said.

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