Tag Archives: Arlington National Cemetery

Trumps ‘have no idea’ what sacrifice entails

Donald J. Trump Jr.’s pathetic effort to elevate his family’s experience with those who have served — and often paid the price for their service — their country has drawn the expected response from the expected source.

Khizr Khan is a Gold Star father whose son, U.S. Army Lt. Humayun Khan, was killed in action in Iraq. He has lambasted Don Jr.’s statement of “sacrifice” with profound outrage.

He said Trump has no clue as to the sacrifice that many Americans and their families have made for the country. Khan’s comment came after Don Jr. told TV interviewers about how he and his family visited Arlington National Cemetery the day before Trump Sr. was to become president. He said in his book “Triggered” that the visit reminded him of the business “sacrifice” he and his family made to ensure Dad’s election as president.

Khizr Khan’s response is gripping. “They have no idea what service and sacrifice is when his turn, Donald Trump’s turn, came to serve, he ran away,” Khan said on MSNBC. “What does it say to you when somebody says that they’ve visited and seen those graves there at Arlington and then talks about their business sacrifice? Especially for you, who has a son buried there,” the interviewer, Kendis Gibson, asked of Khan.

“It’s disgusting. It’s shameful,” Khan replied. “But we don’t expect any better from Donald Trump or Donald Trump Jr. because they have sacrificed nothing. They have gained from all of this.”

Yes, and so it is that Donald Trump Jr. has managed to insert himself directly in a long-standing discussion about sacrifice and service and his family’s shameful — or shameless — attempt at lifting themselves to the level of those who have given everything on behalf of their beloved country.

Sacrifice? The Trumps know nothing about what it means.

Don Trump Jr. makes a grotesque comparison about sacrifice

Simply grotesque.

That’s the only description I can give to something that Donald J. Trump Jr. wrote in his book “Triggered.”

He writes about visiting Arlington National Cemetery in January 2017, the day before his father became the 45th president of the United States. He looked at the graves and thought of the “sacrifice” his family would endure once Daddy Trump became president.

He writes: In that moment, I also thought of all the attacks we’d already suffered as a family, and about all the sacrifices we’d have to make to help my father succeed — voluntarily giving up a huge chunk of our business and all international deals to avoid the appearance that we were ‘profiting off of the office.’

Frankly, it was a big sacrifice, costing us millions and millions of dollars annually. Of course, we didn’t get any credit whatsoever from the mainstream media, which now does not surprise me at all.

Wow! He equates the “sacrifice” his family has made to the men and women who have served in harm’s way, who have committed themselves to public service, and in many instances — as he looked over the graves at Arlington — have died on battlefields in far-off lands.

To equate in any fashion the sacrifice made by these Americans to what he and his family have endured is beyond the pale.

Veterans have spoken out in anger at what Don Jr. has written. I cannot blame them. You may count me as one American veteran who takes great offense at what this scion of a family born into immense wealth has written.

This guy knows not a damn thing about “sacrifice.”

Neither rain, nor thunder, nor heavy wind …

The U.S. Postal Service has nothing on at least one soldier with the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment.

With all due respect to the USPS, I have to give a serious shout-out to a soldier for the Old Guard who defied terrible weather today at the Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington National Cemetery.

The weather had forced senior officers to order the men who were placing flags at the Arlington cemetery graves to stand down. The weather was too horrible; rain, thunder, lightning and heavy wind pounded the D.C. area.

But one soldier wanted to ensure that a flag was placed at the Tomb of the Unknown. The soldier, who was not identified, braved the elements. According to a Facebook post: “As thunder shook the ground, and rains washed down without abandon, the Tomb Sentinel pierced through the elements with breath-taking precision.”

Where I come from, that’s what I call “devotion to duty.”

Well done, soldier.

As the regiment noted in its Facebook post: “Humans have their limits, but the Old Guard has yet to meet theirs.”

Still mourning a national tragedy

It was a Saturday morning 16 years ago. The phone rang. A colleague of mine at the Amarillo Globe-News was on the other end of the call. “Did you hear about the shuttle Columbia?” he asked. No. “It broke up on re-entry,” he said.

I blurted out a four-letter word, then rushed to the office to prepare an editorial for the next day’s newspaper.

The demise of the Columbia on Feb. 1, 2003 had special resonance with the readers of our newspaper. Its commander was a son of the Texas Panhandle, U.S. Air Force Col. Rick Husband.

You see, Col. Husband never really “left” Amarillo, the city of his birth and where he came of age. Yes, he would go on to graduate from Texas Tech University, enter the Air Force, earn his wings, fly high-performance jet aircraft and eventually become an astronaut.

He returned home often. My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting him one Sunday at the church we attended. He came to deliver a message from the pulpit. His wife, Evelyn, grew up at First Presbyterian Church and Kathy and I became acquainted with her late parents, Jean and Dan Neely.

Columbia broke apart on re-entry after completing a 16-day mission in Earth orbit. It had been a resounding success. However, unbeknownst to the crew, a piece of debris hit the leading edge of the wing on liftoff, puncturing a hole in it. Re-entry into the atmosphere created intense heat and, thus, the ship caught fire and disintegrated.

I want to mention one more example of Rick Husband’s eternal connection to Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle. You see, he was one of six Americans on the seven-member crew; the seventh was an Israeli officer. Of the American heroes aboard the Columbia, all but one of them were interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

It took recovery crews some time to find the remains of the crew in East Texas. When they found Rick Husband’s remains, they brought them to Amarillo and buried him at Llano Cemetery.

Rick Husband came home . . .  where he belonged.

I call this ‘devotion to duty’

This picture says it all for me. It is not a statue. It is a living, breathing U.S. Army soldier. He is standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington National Cemetery.

Yep, it is snowing. It is bitterly cold. But there he is, along with the rest of the garrison assigned to stand watch over one of our nation’s most sacred memorials.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott posted this picture on Facebook. I share it here to join the governor in saluting these men — indeed, the rest of our military force. “God bless our military,” Gov. Abbott said.

One more quick point: These men are assigned to perform this intensely precise duty in addition to their regular duties while stationed with the 3rd Army Infantry Regiment at Fort Myer, Va. They do not perform this duty exclusively. Their infantry unit is required to maintain its fitness for combat duty in the event that they would get such an order from the commander in chief.

They stand their watch at the Tomb of the Unknown — no matter what!

Well done, Mr. President; thanks for honoring fallen vets

Something unexpected happened today that surprised many Americans.

Donald J. Trump paid an unannounced visit today to Arlington National Cemetery to help lay wreaths on graves of those who are buried there. He did so — get this! — in the rain. He was photographed carrying an umbrella while visiting the gravesites throughout the cemetery, which is just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

You’ll recall while the president was in France to commemorate the 100th year since the end of World War I that he skipped a ceremony because of inclement weather. He said the Secret Service had advised him against flying aboard Marine One to the ceremony. It was raining that day and, not surprisingly, social media jumped all over the president’s declining to stand in the rain.

He stood in the rain today at Arlington National Cemetery.

What’s more, Trump took a lot of public grief for refusing to go to Arlington on Veterans Day. He said at the time that he had a busy time at the White House and couldn’t break away to honor the fallen veterans. He broke with many decades of presidential tradition; presidents usually attend Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery. Trump chose to stay inside on that day.

Trump did acknowledge that he erred in declining to go to Arlington on Veterans Day; he expressed “regret” for his no-show.

Well, today he sought to atone for what was a mistake a little more than a month ago. Today is National Wreaths Across America Day. Donald Trump thought he should take part. He was so very correct to do so.

Well done, sir. This veteran thanks you.

Hell freezes over: POTUS expresses ‘regret’

I guess hell has frozen over, finally.

Donald J. Trump says he “regrets” not attending a Veterans Day commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery. He stayed at the White House during the day. He had no public events. His schedule was clear.

The president did manage to fire off nine tweets during the day.

Yet he now expresses a bit of regret over his no-show at Arlington.

He made the admission to Fox News’s Chris Wallace, to whom he said “in retrospect” he made a bad call on a day set aside to honor the nation’s veterans.

It’s an unusual step for a president who says he never apologizes. He has said he hasn’t ever sought forgiveness. Donald Trump doesn’t look back on his deeds or statements. Introspection isn’t included in the Trumpian vocabulary, according to the president.

What do we make of this semi-contrition?

I don’t know. It might signal an awakening by this president. Or, it might just be a touch of pandering.

I’ll reserve any final determination for later. In the meantime, I’ll hope for the best — but prepare for the worst.

POTUS’s patriotism at issue?

I guess I’m missing something here.

Barack Obama’s critics were hair-trigger quick to criticize the president as “unpatriotic,” concocting all kinds of reasons to lay that unfair criticism on him.

So, his successor, Donald J. Trump, goes to Europe to commemorate the 100th year since the end of World War I. What does he (not) do? He declines to attend a ceremony at an American cemetery outside of Paris, citing inclement weather; dozens of other heads of state attended the ceremony.

The president then attends another ceremony the next day before coming home.

Then he declines to visit Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, the day the government recognizes as Veterans Day. Neither did the vice president.

And yet … the critics who blasted President Obama continually over his alleged lack of love of country have been quiet about Donald Trump’s absence at two places honoring our fallen warriors.

Hmm. Hypocrisy, anyone?

Trump demonstrates unfitness constantly

Donald J. Trump’s idiotic tweet on Memorial Day has provided critics — such as yours truly — with ample grist to suggest what many of us have said all along.

Not a single thing in Trump’s background prepared him for the public service career he chose the moment he rode down that Trump Tower escalator to declare his presidential candidacy in 2015.

The president took to Twitter to say the following:

Happy Memorial Day! Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER (& women in 18years), rebuilding our Military and so much more. Nice!

As Chris Cilliza of CNN reported, Trump — with that message — managed to “put the ‘me’ in Memorial Day.”

I have noted repeatedly on this blog that Trump’s entire professional career, every waking moment of it, was centered on one thing: himself. He sought to build a business empire. He aspired to immense wealth. He sought self-enrichment. He lavished self-aggrandizement all over himself. He surrounded himself with opulence, glitz, glamor and gorgeous women.

Nothing he did, said or demonstrated during all those years offered even a hint of understanding of what it means to serve others. He was — and still is — wrapped tightly in his own cocoon of self-worth.

Thus, the tweet in which he boasted about the economy and “rebuilding our Military and so much more” speaks volumes about why this man is so hideously unfit for the office to which he was elected.

Yes, the president did go to Arlington National Cemetery and he spoke some fitting words while paying tribute to the Americans who have died on battlefields all across this and around the world.

However, it’s that first instinct, the president’s Twitter message that went out at early in the day, that reveals this individual’s love of self that supersedes everything — and everyone — else.

Public service means to pay tribute to others without regard to yourself. Those who choose a life in politics and government ought to understand that basic tenet. If only the president of the United States could grasp the simplicity of that concept.

Trump tells another lie about Obama

To paraphrase Ronald Wilson Reagan … there he goes again.

Donald J. Trump said a lot of amazing things at that impromptu press conference at the White House. One of the more absurd, ridiculous and specious claims the president made was that his predecessors, namely Barack Obama, didn’t call on the families of fallen warriors.

Let’s see. How can I say this? Trump is flat wrong — yet again!

Trump draws fire for comment

President Obama made quite a statement many times during his two terms about how difficult it was for him to meet with the families of men and women who died in battle. Indeed, his military staff challenged Trump’s assertion almost immediately.

According to NBC News: “If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls — a lot of them didn’t make calls — I like to make calls when it’s appropriate,” Trump said at a press conference in the Rose Garden when asked about why he had not addressed the recent deaths of American troops in Niger.
However, a former senior Obama administration disputed Trump’s claim.

“President Trump’s claim is wrong,” the ex-official said. “President Obama engaged families of the fallen and wounded warriors throughout his presidency through calls, letters, visits to Section 60 at Arlington, visits to Walter Reed, visits to Dover, and regular meetings with Gold Star Families at the White House and across the country.” 

And yet, this president continues to get away with lying.

Reagan delivered the “There you go again” line when challenging a statement President Carter made during a 1980 presidential debate. It proved to be a devastating moment. Donald Trump appears immune to such put-downs.