Worst insults to veterans – ever

The Aisne-Marne American Cemetery at Belleau Wood battlefield in France. ABMC.gov photo.

by Rob Howard
Political Columnist

As a veteran of the United States Air Force and a student of “The Great War” I was driven Saturday to incendiary anger when I learned that President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery at foot of Belleau Woods battlefield.

The cemetery and memorial was the site of a gathering by international leaders observing the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The reason given for the cancellation was “rain”, which made a helicopter flight to the memorial service impossible.

But really, Mr. President, it’s only 50 miles from Paris, where you were staying. According to news reports from those who know, there is “always a rain option.” Which means that Trump could have gotten there in around an hour by motorcade.

The cemetery is the resting place of 2,289 U. S. troops, many killed in the Battle of Belleau Wood. The names of 1,060 more who were never found are inscribed on a wall there.

Thousands of American soldiers from World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam are still missing or buried under markers like this. Photo by Rob Howard.

The reason for Trump to be in Paris was to participate in the 100 year observances. The rain didn’t prevent White House Chief of Staff General John F. Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. from making it there.

It also didn’t prevent Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron from visiting other sites around Paris.

So I can only conclude that Trump just didn’t think that it was worth his time to go stand in the rain.

This is outrageous. The young soldiers, thousands of miles from home, endured incredible hardships in the last year of the war, including unrelenting rain and ankle deep mud. But Trump couldn’t endure a one-hour drive in a warm limo to stand in a light rain.

Soldiers in World War One suffered intolerable conditions including unrelenting rain and deep mud. File photo.

After embarrassing the United States again and again in the 44 hours he was in France, Trump flew back to Washington.

By Monday, I had cooled off a little. And then I heard that, in direct opposition to presidential tradition, he did not visit the Tombs of the Unknown Soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Every president in my memory has paid homage to the hundreds of thousands of US veterans buried at Arlington. He had nothing on his calendar for the day.

These two events are the worst insult to veterans that I have seen – ever!

It’s not new to Trump of course. He dissed Sen. John McCain’s service during the campaign, saying McCain wasn’t a hero, despite his having been a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for years. And also during the campaign, he criticizes the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, who appeared at the Democratic National Convention.

I am back on incendiary for these repeated, back to back, outrageous insults to our veterans. Trump uses the military as foils when it suits his purposes. But with these insults he has shown that he cares nothing for those who serve their country now and in the past. And clearly, not even for those who gave the last full measure of devotion to their country.

Shame on you, Mr. Trump. You owe veterans and military service members everywhere a sincere apology!

Copyright the Gayly – November 13, 2018 @ 4:10 p.m. CST.