My Turn: No sense of honor or sacrifice

President Donald Trump prepares to address the nation from the White House on Jan. 8, 2020, on the ballistic missile strike that Iran launched against Iraqi air bases housing U.S. troops, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, center, and U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein.

President Donald Trump prepares to address the nation from the White House on Jan. 8, 2020, on the ballistic missile strike that Iran launched against Iraqi air bases housing U.S. troops, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, center, and U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. AP FILE PHOTO/ALEX BRANDON

By TOM WILLIAMS

Published: 04-02-2024 5:20 PM

 

A recent letter written by a man who, along with his wife, visited a World War II cemetery in Nettuno, Italy prompts me to write this one to echo his touching yet distressing words [“Gratitude for heroes who gave their lives,” Recorder, March 17]. He describes his view of this cemetery as “Thousands upon thousands of white crosses, in every direction as far as the eye can see.” 

It is a breathtaking sight indeed, for I’ve seen it myself. It leaves one speechless to think of the awesome price paid by so many brave souls so that we may enjoy life in peace.

The writer goes on to say how overwhelmed with gratitude he and his wife are for the ultimate sacrifice these heroes made to protect us here at home. He continues on to say how grateful and respectful most Americans are for these fallen heroes and have been since the Revolutionary War. At first, I found it odd that he inserted “most” in that sentence. To me, as a veteran myself, it seems that all Americans have respect for veterans, especially those who paid the ultimate price.

However, as the writer points out, there is one man, one in a very prominent position, who has openly and publicly ridiculed, slandered and even threatened veterans. Donald Trump, while standing amid the thousands of white crosses in Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France, blurted out how these dead military personnel were “suckers” and “losers” for dying.

On national TV, Trump once stated that, because he was captured, John McCain was not a hero. He further stated that he did not like those who were captured. But McCain showed true unselfish leadership and heroic action beyond what many others may have done during the Vietnam War.

After he was shot down over North Vietnam and captured, he was offered his freedom because of his father’s prominent position as a high-ranking admiral in the Navy. When McCain asked if his fellow pilots would also be released, the answer came back no. In true team solidarity and with concern for his comrades, McCain declined the offer to leave and endured another five years in the Vietnamese prison.

Trump once declared Gen. Mark Milley, his chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as disloyal to him when the general stated he proclaimed his loyalty not to one individual but rather to the U.S. Constitution. Trump later suggested that Gen. Milley should be executed for his disloyalty.

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Sitting at a recent Memorial Day committee meeting planning the day’s events to honor those who died so we may live, I cannot shake from my mind the total disregard our former commander-in-chief has for those who laid down their lives so he could enjoy the freedoms bought and paid for by their blood. While we look for ways to honor them, Trump continues to endlessly discredit, disgrace and shame them.

Despicable! His appalling behavior and inexcusable, disgraceful remarks disgust me to no end. I hope the same is true with you.

Tom Williams lives in Shelburne.