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Photo of 97-year-old Mo. WWII veteran taking a knee in support of NFL players is capturing attention across the country

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WILLARD, Mo. — A photo of a kneeling 97-year-old World War II veteran from southwest Missouri is making headlines across the country.

Brennan Gilmore tweeted the photo of his grandfather John Middlemas Sunday morning before any team took the field.  He said the photo and gesture was his grandfather’s way of supporting NFL players who planned to take a knee prior to their game.

“My grandpa is a 97 year-old WWII vet & Missouri farmer who wanted to join w/ those who #TakeaKnee: ‘those kids have every right to protest,'” Gilmore tweeted along with the photo.

The Springfield News-Leader spoke to the veteran who said he just wants to promote peace and acceptance.

“I’m trying to say that you have to love everybody,” the veteran told the Springfield News-Leader, adding he hopes “the whole world” will get his message. “We don’t kill people. We want to make people live.”

By Monday morning Gilmore’s tweet had been retweeted more than 130,000 times and liked more than 343,000 times.