CLEVELAND -- In the wake of recent police-involve shootings and violent responses around the country, Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton acknowledged that America is not perfect, but still considers it good.
And with the Browns heading to Washington, D.C. for today’s game at FedEx Field, Horton took time to reflect on the importance of striving to be better as people and a country.
“For me, it’s two-sided,” Horton said. “The love of the country and what it is based on and also, really the right to protest peacefully. If you get into history lessons of people, it doesn’t matter if they are men or women or they are white or black and the whole spectrum goes in there and the U.S. Constitution and the Pledge of Allegiance and the words that are written.
“If you go to Washington, D.C. and the Jefferson Memorial, Jefferson writes about the Constitution. He talks about. Really, if you read it, there is a passage in there about the ability to change with the circumstances. I think that is what this country has done over the years. Whether you look at women’s right to vote, the civil rights, the country has always been in flux and in change.
“I think it strives to be a nation from many, one. That is what it is really based upon. Are we perfect? I don’t think so, but I think that the foundation of this country is a bunch of immigrants coming over and trying to make this the best country that we could, not perfect but good.”
Horton started his coaching career with Washington as a defensive assistant (1994) and later, the assistant defensive backs coach (1995-1996). And in his time away from the field, Horton drew inspiration from the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen honored with internment at Arlington National Cemetery.
It was on that hallowed ground that Horton was inspired by The Sentinel’s Creed, inscribed on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:
“My dedication to this sacred duty
is total and whole-hearted.
In the responsibility bestowed on me
never will I falter.
And with great dignity and perseverance
my standard will remain perfection.
Through the years of diligence and praise
and the discomfort of the elements,
I will walk my tour in humble reverence
to the best of my ability.
It is he who commands the respect I protect,
his bravery that made us so proud.
Surrounded by well-meaning crowds by day,
alone in the thoughtful peace of night,
this soldier will in honored glory rest
under my eternal vigilance.”
“It meant something to me,” Horton said. “My father was in the military. When I read it and when I watch what they do out there and read the creed, it is what I wanted to do as a coach. I wanted to respect the integrity of the league and the players, and really, the fans. Just with the passing of Arnold (Palmer), and then, going to Washington this week, it all kind of hit me of just who I am and who I want to be as a coach.
“It’s touching. Really, for me, the sacrifices that our servicemen make and to watch those guys come rain, snow, hail, it doesn’t matter. They are out there guarding what really our whole freedom is based on -- young men and women sacrificing their lives so we can live and play and enjoy what we have. Appreciate that.”