We Are All Wounded When Trump Dishonors the Military
The members of our armed services, living and dead, deserve honor
That might be the one thing upon which Americans on both sides of our vast and aching divide still agree. Whether we are veterans or members of military families or not, or even if we are tree-hugging pacifists, we share the understanding that we owe a debt of gratitude to the people who give up years of their lives to put themselves in harm’s way on our behalf, and who often lose those lives, or their limbs, or the peace of their psyches in so doing.
Most of us are hushed with reverence when driving past a military cemetery, or attending a military funeral, or visiting a national shrine such as Arlington National Cemetery or the American Cemetery in Normandy. These experiences invite us to transcend our differences with those on opposite sides of any political or ideological fence as we give witness to valor and sacrifice.
Every American has a stake in the relationship with our armed forces, and a duty to uphold with regard to our service members. That relationship and that duty must be characterized by respect, support, pride, and dignity. As individual citizens, we may take issue with whatever armed conflict our military is ordered into, but our issue must always be with the order itself, or the policy that led to it, and not with the warriors themselves. Again, this is something that is so clear and obvious to most Americans that it’s hard to see why it needs pointing out.
But one American does not understand this: our President
Trump’s failure to recognize the duty and honor due to our veterans, fallen heroes, and active-duty members has been evident since before he took office. In 2015, his on-camera dismissal of Senator John McCain, who was shot down, captured by the North Vietnamese to be tortured and held prisoner for five years, provoked shock among many when Trump said of him:
“He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”