Say no more, Mr. President. Say no more.

Bruce Maples (bruceinlouisville@gmail.com)
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Throughout history, many soldiers have died in war with their remains being unidentified. In Arlington National Cemetery, there is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which contains the remains of a dead soldier(s) who is unidentified, “known but to God.”

The anonymity of the entombed soldier is the key symbolism of the monument; it could be the tomb of anyone who fell in service of our nation, and therefore serves as a monument symbolizing all the sacrifices of those who served. As Americans, we honor our living and our dead.

On the other hand, our unpatriotic, transactional president has contempt for past, present, and future soldiers, sailors, and air personnel.

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Trump’s non-understanding of honor and service, especially military, has been evident for most of his adult life.

Between 1964 and 1972, Donald Trump claimed deferments for “bone spurs” to get out of serving in the Vietnam War. (Subsequent physical exams don’t show any bone spurs.)

And in an interview with Howard Stern In 1997, Trump laughed  that avoiding sexually transmitted diseases felt like his “personal Vietnam.” “I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”

When asked about his lack of military service, Trump noted that he attended a military-style prep school, and indicated that experience was equivalent to serving in the military.

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And yet, rather than be humble in the face of true service and sacrifice, draft-dodging Donald “Bone Spurs” Trump treats military personnel and their families constantly with disrespect. He behaves like a spoiled toddler playing with toy soldiers that won’t do what he commands.

  • He insults war heroes and their parents, lambasts generals as “dopes and babies,” and makes fun of soldiers with traumatic brain injuries.
  • He has pardoned a convicted war criminal against the objections of the men and women he served with, who described him as “freaking evil.”
  • He forced West Point cadets to come back so he could give a commencement address, needlessly endangering them during a pandemic.
  • He has scoffed at Putin’s bounty on our Middle East troops, and abandoned the Kurds, our staunch allies in the Middle East, allowing Russia to have its way in the Middle East.
  • He wants to spend defense dollars on a parade – after seeing the Bastille Day parade in Paris – with tanks, missiles, and thousands of soldiers “goose-stepping” down Pennsylvania avenue, reminiscent of Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China.

At the Family Leadership Summit in 2016, Trump said of Sen. John McCain, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured? I like people who weren’t captured.”

Capt. John McCain, a Navy pilot, spent five-and-half years in a North Vietnamese prison known as the “Hanoi Hilton.” He endured repeated torture and solitary confinement. For the rest of his life, he suffered from the injuries he received as a POW.

When speaking with the Retired American Warriors, Trump suggested veterans suffering from PTSD are not “strong” and “can’t handle” the stresses of war.

In response, Iraq veteran Jon Soltz said “The fact is, dealing with the mental wounds from war has nothing to do about someone’s strength.”

Unlike Trump who seldom writes or visits families of slain soldiers, especially minorities, President Obama wrote letters and made calls to families of killed Americans. Even George W. Bush wrote letters to families of fallen soldiers.

I’m reminded of the Bixby letter probably written by John Hay, one of Lincoln’s secretaries during the Civil War:

“I pray that our Heavenly Father assuage the anguish of your bereavement and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”

You see, Lydia Bixby had lost 5 sons during the War.

But, draft-dodging Donald “Bone Spurs” Trump would scoff at Mrs. Bixby’s loss as “suckers,” and “losers,” and would ask “what was in it for them?”  

Trump’s contempt continued for Army Captain Humayun Khan, who died in a suicide attack in Iraq in 2004 and received a Bronze Star.

Trump compared the murder of Capt. Khan to “sacrifices” he made climbing the corporate ladder as a businessman. But his multiple bankruptcies, unpaid bills, and small businesspeople he destroyed are his seldom-reported record.

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In the last week, though, we have learned even more about Trump’s disrespect and inability to grasp true patriotism and service.

On Memorial Day 2017, on a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, Trump was accompanied by Gen. John Kelly, then Secretary of Homeland Security. Kelly’s son, Marine Lt. Robert Kelly who had been killed in Afghanistan, is buried in Section 60. According to multiple sources, when standing beside the grave, Trump turned to Gen. Kelly and said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?

And on a trip to France in 2018, Trump canceled a planned visit to the WWI Aisne-Marne American Cemetery to memorialize the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Belleau Wood. He told aides, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.”

According to numerous eyewitness accounts, during that same trip, Trump called the war dead “suckers” for getting killed.

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American veterans are pushing back hard after these latest revelations.

Last week in a video response, retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton held up the war-tattered dog tag of his father, Col. Norman Dale Eaton, who was killed in action during Vietnam in 1969. “My father was a patriot.”

After reading and hearing all of this, we are firm in two resolutions:

  • We never want to hear any more – not another word – from this president about our military members and their service. Say no more, Mr. President; you have said more than enough.
  • And come November 3, we will remember what you have already said, and we will vote you out of office so you can never again insult our service men and women as their Commander in Chief. Never. Again.

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