As Commander-in-Chief of the United States, the President holds the power to send his troops overseas. These men and women of the armed forces, who put their lives on the line to protect their country, deserve the support and respect of their commander, regardless of what happens on the battlefield. Whether killed in action, injured in the line of duty or captured and tortured by the enemy, these soldiers must know their commander has their six (military jargon for “their back”). Even though President Donald Trump has recently denied making demeaning remarks about veterans, the sources show otherwise.
Trump disparaged fallen soldiers, families of fallen soldiers and veterans in general on countless occasions. For example, in 2018, Trump scheduled a visit to the Aisne-Marne Cemetery in Belleau, France to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. At the last minute, Trump cancelled the visit due to inclement weather. However, on Sept. 3, a published article on The Atlantic revealed that Trump actually cancelled the visit because the weather would “mess up his hair” and the soldiers in the cemetery were “suckers.” Years earlier, soldiers in the battle fought off five divisions of German soldiers with only bayonets and their fists. Over 9,000 American soldiers suffered casualties and over 1,000 were killed. I do not think these acts of heroism should be defined as the actions of suckers. Suckers are granted deferral from service due to “bone spurs.”
Unfortunately, Trump also degraded military service many times before. Earlier, in 2015, Trump stated that decorated Vietnam War veteran and U.S. senator John McCain was “only a war hero because he was captured.” Trump later added that he liked people who were “not captured.” During the war, the North Vietnamese captured McCain and brutally tortured him every day for five and a half years. In those five and a half years of captivity, McCain sacrificed more for his country than Trump has in his four years as president.
Some people argue that Trump’s way of saying things bluntly makes him a unique politician. His supporters praise him for his direct words. But a line exists. When the Commander-in-Chief begins to degrade and belittle the men and women who are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, an issue that must be solved. How many times must he cross the line?
Seven. This defines the number of living veterans in my family. They served in branches from the Marine Corps to the Navy to the Coast Guard. My parents have always taught me that two of the most important values include honor and respect, especially when it comes to our nation’s heroes. Trump made it obvious with his repeated remarks that neither honor nor respect come to his mind when he thinks about those who gave it all for our country.