This viral photo says a lot about what the NFL protests are actually about.

On Sept. 27, photographer Brendan Smialowski snapped this photo while traveling with President Donald Trump's motorcade in Indianapolis.

Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

The president was in town to deliver a speech on tax reform.


On the right side of the frame is Marvin L. Boatright, a 60-year-old U.S. Army veteran.

In the photo, he's wearing an American Legion cap and has the U.S. flag folded in his arms. Notably, he is also kneeling.

Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

Smialowski wasn't the only photographer who captured the moment. Other photographers and news outlets picked it up as well. Given the recent attention on the NFL's #TakeAKnee protests against racism and police brutality, the photo quickly went viral.

Last week at a rally in Alabama, Trump slammed NFL players for protesting by kneeling during the national anthem, suggesting any athlete who does so is a "son of a bitch" who deserves to be fired.

Boatright — who served in the Army's 1st Cavalry from 1974 to 1976 and whose father served in World War II — clearly disagrees with the president.

"We love this country," Boatright told HuffPost after the photos spread far and wide. "We love this flag. But we also love life and liberty for all humanity."

Boatright kneels outside the funeral home his family owns in Indianapolis. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

He explained to the outlet (emphasis added):

“As a veteran, and as an African-American, we have already and we continue to serve for God and country. But you can have a love of God and country and still be against social injustice. You don’t have to separate one from the other. ... For the commander-in-chief to call our citizens ‘sons of a bitches’ was totally wrong and beneath the dignity of the office that he holds."

The NFL protests, as Boatright alluded to, have been meant to raise awareness about systemic racism in our law enforcement and criminal justice systems, particularly when it comes to police brutality.

The protests aren't about the flag or the anthem.

Other photos of vets kneeling have made the similar, striking point: Kneeling during the national anthem is not unpatriotic.

Like this pic of 97-year-old John Middlemas, who served in the Navy for 21 years — during World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War — BuzzFeed News reported.

"Those kids have every right to protest," Middlemas said of the NFL players.

A photo of Middlemas, shared on Twitter by his grandson, Brennan Gilmore, was retweeted more than 168,000 times to date.

As Gilmore told BuzzFeed:

"Members of the military like my grandfather who risked their lives or fought for this country did not do so because of symbols like the flag or the anthem, but because of the ideas those symbols represent — like freedom of speech, and equality, and justice for all."

TV producer and veteran Norman Lear, 95, also shared photos of himself on Twitter: "I [take a knee], once more, in solidarity with my brothers [and] sisters still fighting [for] equality [and] justice," he wrote.

Through all of the noise, these protests really are about ensuring equality for all Americans, Boatright expressed — and we have a long way to go.

But Boatright, a grandfather of four, is hopeful for what the future holds.

"I would want my children to be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin; you cannot ask for anything greater," he noted to HuffPost. "We’ve not reached it yet, but I think we’ll get there."

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WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

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It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

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Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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