I read with interest Keith Monilaws’ June 12th letter regarding President Trump’s D-Day speech. I admit to finding it persistently annoying when non-veterans seek to make political arguments using veterans as their rhetorical foils. It seems to be Monilaws' essential point that Trump is not fit to offer a remembrance of the enormous sacrifice of the men that stormed Normandy on that day – both those that died and those that survived.
I suppose it is possible that the writer misses the point of national service. We, current, released from active duty and retired, service members join to serve our country and not a particular politician or party. I served under Presidents Bush, Clinton and Bush. Depending on who you consult, each was in his own way unfit and fell short of the demands of the office. Indeed, if you were to consult veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and any of the Gulf Wars, I suspect you will find a wide disparity of opinions on the presidents from Roosevelt to our present day.
- Letter: Even the memories of D-Day have been politicized
- Trump, world leaders celebrate the Normandy invasion that save Europe from Nazism
What I suspect you will not find, however, is a disrespect for the Office of the President, regardless of its current occupant, or the remainder of our national leadership. We swear an oath that is not dependent on the persons, parties or peculiarities of our national leadership. We serve the country and are under the orders of its lawful leaders. We do not have the luxury of subjecting each Congress or administration to some kind of floating “worthiness of leading the military and honoring veterans” standard. When the president, as the commander in chief, directs our actions, we obey and serve. That’s what we sign up for.
So, Monilaws may feel Trump is an unsavory person and he may well be right, but when the president of the United States of America stands at the dais and lauds service members from that day who have served honorably up to and including the loss of their lives, he is doing exactly what we would expect of our commander.
Honestly, if the president would have failed to speak on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day it would have been an unspeakable insult – one that I am sure that Monilaws would have been happy to point out on our behalf.
So, next time, go ahead and have at Trump – there’s plenty to take umbrage at, but please don’t use us to make your point. We've got our own issues to address from inadequate VA health care and benefits to high rates of veteran suicide. Any president, divisive or otherwise, saying nice things about WWII veterans? I would expect no less.
Johnson, Moorhead, is retired from the U.S. Navy.