Boy, 10, takes knee during Pledge of Allegiance, sparks controversy

/ CBS News

Durham, N.C. — Is it taking a stand or disrespecting the flag? That's the question some are asking after a Durham 10 year old took a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance at Monday night's City Council meeting, reports CBS Raleigh affiliate WNCN-TV.

Video of the meeting shows Liam Holmes drop down. The council invited Cub Scout Pack 451 to lead the pledge. Liam said he is a Cub Scout.

"What I did was took a knee against racial discrimination, which is basically when people are mean to other people of different colors," said Liam said.

His dad, Scott Holmes, said he talked to Liam about it beforehand, but he wasn't sure if he'd follow through.

"When he did it I was really surprised and also really proud of him," Scott Holmes said.

"No one saw it except the people that were watching. And the mayor noticed and he thanked me," Liam said.

Cub Scout Liam Holmes, 10, taking knee during Pledge of Allegiance at Durham, N.C. City Council meeting on February 4, 2019 WNCN-TV

"Thank you, councilman, and thank you, scouts. To the scout that expressed his conscience by kneeling, we will say we endorse and appreciate all expressions of conscience in Durham City Council," Mayor Steve Schewel said.

Not everyone shared that opinion.

"It just blew my mind that this was Cub Scouts and politics," Brandon LaRoque said.

LaRoque is a lifelong scout and veteran. He reached out to WNCN after he heard what had taken place.

"Part of the scout oath is to God and your country, and I understand people have the right to freedom of speech. I just don't understand why it has to be during the Pledge of Allegiance," LaRoque said.

Schewel said he "was surprised but also I was very respectful and appreciative of (Liam) expressing his conscience.

He said he disagrees with those who say Liam is too young to understand what he was doing

"At a very young age, you can be a moral person and stand up for what you believe in," Schewel observed, adding that kneeling at the flag is a right anyone has.

"One of the things that we have to really be aware of is what our flag really stands for," Schewel continued. "Our flag stands for freedom of individual expression and freedom to express your conscience and we need to support that — all the time.

For his part, Liam said that won't be the last time he takes a knee during the pledge.

"I just like the idea of it and now, I just feel like doing it every time when we do the Pledge of Allegiance."

First published on February 7, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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