This Widow Of A Veteran Says He Would Want Her To Support "Taking A Knee"

Katie Hubbard told BuzzFeed News she hopes more people will simply listen to what NFL players are protesting against. "Their reality and their truth is American truth," she said.

Katie Hubbard, 33, from Kansas lost her husband, Command Sgt. Maj. James Hubbard, to leukemia in 2009 after his tour in Iraq. He served in the Army for 36 years.

Katie Hubbard

James had developed the cancer while in service, Katie told BuzzFeed News, and died in the hospital for treatment shortly after his diagnosis.

Katie said when she heard President Trump's remarks about NFL players over the weekend, she believed he was deliberately targeting people of color.

Jeffrey T. Barnes / AP

"It’s appalling he would say that about an American citizen," Katie said, referring Trump calling protesting players "sons of bitches."

"There has been so many instances of racist thoughts and beliefs coming from his mouth, and for him to come out and say that, it was beyond appalling."

And as she watched Trump, his base, and many others argue against the freedom to kneel in protest, she grew increasingly frustrated. "[Trump had] his base use the military as pawns," she said. "It was disrespectful to them."

Katie Hubbard

She, of course, had her late husband on her mind and thought he would want her to speak up.

"I saw so many comments saying it was disrespectful to the flag, or it was aimed to be disrespectful to the military or the fallen, so I wanted to let the players know that not all of us in the military community feel it's disrespectful," Katie said.

Over the weekend, Katie shared this very thought in a short, but concise, message that has gone viral on Twitter.

My husband died for your right to #TakeAKnee. He would have supported you; I support you. Sincerely, a military widow.

@Khubbard991 / Twitter / Via Twitter: @Khubbard991

Her message has continued to garner a lot of attention. Many others in the military community, including other widows, stood with her sentiment.

@Khubbard991 @jtat4eva As a Vet I also stand with you. I'm truly humbled by words & support. Thank you for your sup…

@VAgirl1973 / Twitter / Via Twitter: @VAgirl1973

@Khubbard991 Katie, I am w/ you. As a veteran who was deployed at the time my husband was killed; I support #TakeAKnee

@katcolvert / Twitter / Via Twitter: @katcolvert

@Khubbard991 Gold Star girlfriend here, and my would-have-been husband would've supported this, too. Love to all of you.

@anthRothology / Twitter / Via Twitter: @anthRothology

Katie told BuzzFeed News she's "overwhelmed" by how far her message has spread. But she also knows it could speak for those who are currently serving, and are unable to voice their opinions publicly.

@Khubbard991 @williamlegate Son is currently serving in the Navy in Japan rn w/Un flinging missiles at him. He's co…

@everybodyzzmama / Twitter / Via Twitter: @everybodyzzmama

"It hopefully helped those currently on active duty, who can't be vocal about it, to see they can share it if they can't say it themselves," she said. "It was nice to see the support and the wide range of support, from veterans from recent tours to Vietnam veterans."

Katie joins a growing group of veterans and military families who say they are not triggered by the silent protest — whether they agree with the substance of the protest or don't.

My son serves in the U.S. Army to defend everyone's liberty to #TakeAKnee in the face of hatred, racism and injusti…

@voodookitty3 / Twitter / Via Twitter: @voodookitty3

Katie believes Trump and those fighting against "taking a knee" are just regurgitating a common rhetoric without understanding what the protest is about.

"A lot of them that do find it disrespectful do not want to hear what is being said by the players," she said. "If you're not standing, you're against [the military]. They also believe there is no inequality — they believe everyone is equal, and if you're feeling things, you're doing things to cause them. It's this deeply held belief with anything about the flag, and others it's just ignorance to the issue."

If her husband were here today, he'd want to enable a dialogue about this issue — not a war, Katie said.

Katie Hubbard

"He would want individuals to hear [the NFL players] out, and to put themselves in their positions for one moment. Because if you close your ears, you're never ever going to understand where they're coming from," Katie said.

And regarding the original protest against police brutality by black NFL players, she added: "We will never truly understand, but we can listen. Their reality and their truth is American truth."