TAMPA, Fla. - George Colella still has flashbacks to the 9/11 terror attacks.
He was working as an electrician at the time near the World Trade Center.
“I felt the ground shake. I heard the explosion then ran out of the building and I saw flames,” says Colella.
He remembers seeing first responders put their lives at risk for others.
“The more traumatic part was seeing how many firemen were running towards the building while I was running away,” he says.
That's why Colella says the NFL protest is personal to him. That’s why he stands for the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem.
He says witnessing many heroes die that day was heartbreaking.
“All those names represent all the people that died that day. You're disrespecting them. The NFL should be ashamed of themselves,” he says.
Local veterans also came together in front of Raymond James Stadium on Saturday morning to oppose NFL players and coaches taking a knee during the national anthem.
They called it a disgrace.
“I and many veterans wrote a blank check to this country. A check that never expires. So, that every American citizen can express their god-given and individual rights, but to use the symbols of this land that so many have fought for, bled for in your protest, it does not do anything to further your cause,” says Marine veteran Amilee Stuckey Kalapp. “All it does is weaken the country that gave you those rights to protest.”
These veterans say they've been fighting for this country for many years and aren't ready to stop fighting now.
Another protest is expected to take place Sunday afternoon in front of Raymond James as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the New York Giants.
Bucs wide receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson took a knee during the national anthem last weekend.
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