Bill Holen

Image for post
Image for post
photo credit: Max Pixel

I have never thought that serving in the United States Army in Vietnam made me a loser and a sucker. Or that devoting my life to a military and public service career was a bad idea because I could not answer the question posed by our President, “What’s in it for me?”

The shocking disclosure, in a recent article in The Atlantic, was based on multiple military and government sources. Trump, according to several press accounts was quoted as saying military members who died in battle were “losers and suckers.” The comments and actions by President Trump showed blatant disrespect for American military service members who lost their lives during war time.

Over the last several years, President Trump has expressed disdain for service members and their families. He stated that Senator John McCain was a loser because he was shot down over North Vietnam and held in captivity by the North Vietnamese for over five years. He attacked the Gold Star parents of U.S. Army Captain Khan who was killed in Afghanistan, and has called military leaders a “bunch of dopes and babies.”

My family has an honored tradition of military service. Both my mother and father served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the European theatre during World War II. My great uncle was killed in 1945 fighting the Germans during the liberation of Hurth, Germany, and is buried in a U.S. cemetery in Belgium. My cousin was killed in Vietnam when his helicopter was shot down by North Vietnam forces in 1968. Many other relatives served during WW II, Korea, and Vietnam.

As a disabled Army Vietnam veteran, I find the President’s demonstrable disrespect and dismissive attitude toward those who serve in our armed forces to be despicable and anathema to the principles of leadership.

The President’s statements reflect a total lack of understanding of the many strengths, sacrifices, and devotion to duty that those of us who have served this nation with honor continue to exhibit. We volunteered to stand on the tip of the spear and place our lives on the line to defend this nation. We did not stand on those barricades because it would enhance our careers or for the money, we did it for duty, honor and love of country.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store