Injured Teen Football Player Stands for National Anthem

Photo courtesy/Charlie Tonga

Photo courtesy/Charlie Tonga

By Todd Starnes

One of my readers alerted me to a heartwarming story of patriotism from Hurst, Texas.

It’s the story of Vita Tonga, a member of the Blue Raiders football team from L.D. Bell High School.

A few weeks ago, Vita went down during a game. He tore the ACL on his right knee. Doctors were able to repair the damage last Friday.

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But instead of resting at home, Vita was determined to be at last Saturday’s game.

Sure enough, the North Texas teenager rolled out to the sidelines in a wheelchair to cheer on his teammates.

People give their lives just so I can stand up over here in the United States. So therefore I feel as an American citizen I should stand.
— Vita Tonga

When it came time for the National Anthem, the Blue Raiders stood at attention – with their hands over their hearts.

They insisted that Vita be at the front of the line – in his wheelchair. But the young teenager refused to stay seated.

With his leg heavily bandaged and braced, he lifted himself out of the wheelchair and joined his teammates in honoring our great nation.

Vita’s dad told Fox 4 in Dallas that he got a bit emotional watching his son’s patriotic gesture.

“My father is from Tonga,” Charlie Tonga told the television station. “America means something to our family. It’s huge to always stand when the national anthem is played. It’s important to us.”

Mr. Tonga took a photograph of his son and as they say – it’s gone viral. But Vita simply shrugs off his newfound celebrity.

"I didn't really think about it," Vita told Sports Day. "People give their lives just so I can stand up over here in the United States. So therefore I feel as an American citizen I should stand."

Isn’t it refreshing and reassuring to know there are still some football players left in this nation who are still proud to be American?