PHOENIX - “It hurts already, it’s gonna hurt, but it’s important,” said George Algozzini.
Algozzini is taking a stand, or rather a knee, outside the state capital in Phoenix.
“Sacrifice is needed so I’m willing,” said Algozzini.
The disabled Army veteran fought through back and knee pain Wednesday in support against racial injustice he says remains a scourge on the nation he sacrificed for.
Next to him kneels John Correia, a navy sailor, and now local pastor.
“Every day I teach self-defense and firearms to people so I’m like your right-wing conservative gun nut, at the same time as a Christian, I have to stand up for the marginalized, I have to stand up for the oppressed,” said Correia.
Both men fought for the flag and respect the office of the president but feel calling a peaceful protest, an assault on our military, is absurd.
“It’s never a disrespectful thing in life to take a knee, on the football field when you take a knee it's to listen to your coach, it's to be taught — in the military, when you take a knee it’s to list to your commander,” sad Algozzini.
Dozens of people both young and old passed by the two men Wednesday as they knelt poised for hours. Some shook their hands while others gave them little attention at all.
“I say more power to them, I honestly don’t see why it's disrespecting the flag,” said one woman who was passing by.
However, over the last few weeks, tweets from President Trump suggest otherwise. Even calling on NFL owners to fire players who kneel before games.
But people like Dan Bridges says he couldn’t be more proud of what he’s seeing on capital grounds.
“I applaud these guys for doing it, I hope more guys come out and do it and if they do, I'll stand right here and applaud them,” said Bridges.
Algozzini and Coreia say applause isn’t necessary but change is.