Opinion: We all should respect the office of the president
February 16, 2017
I am a Former Marine, Vietnam Veteran and a member of the Khe Sahn Survivors Association. I returned Sept. 1967 from Vietnam, and when I turned 21 in October 1967, I registered to vote as a Democrat.
For six years now, I have been member of the Patriot Guard Riders, a National Organization of about 300,000 mostly Vietnam and Vietnam Era Veterans.
We came into existence when the Westboro Baptist Church started exercising their First Amendment Rights to show up at funerals for Servicemen and Women who were Killed In Action in the two current theaters of combat.
The protest songs, signs and very loud vocal chants filled with swear words, told the families that their loss was because God wanted them dead and they were going to hell because they were Homosexuals.
We became the barrier between the family and the Westboro members by exercising our First Amendment Right to Assemble, with as many as a thousand motorcyclists putting ourselves between the protesters and the families — we made sure the protestors were not heard or seen by those attending the services.
One other action we undertake is to help provide full Military Honors for what we call "Unattended Services" at National Veteran Cemetery's across our Nation. In my case, I am a member of the Northern Nevada/California PGR, every fourth Thursday of every month we ride or drive out to the Northern Nevada Veterans Cemetery in Fernley, Nev., to help provide Full Military Honors for Veterans who have served with Honor.
We only know their name, rank, when they served and with whom they served. We average about 12 Veterans at each service, with them all having one thing in common — no family or friends to stand for them at their final resting. In the past six years, I have attended services for almost 600 Veterans.
So what's this all about? Our group is almost 100 percent Vietnam Veterans. We are very proud of our Veteran status and care very much about our active, retired or former service members.
After one service, a bunch of us stopped at a Denny's for lunch, and a conversation was going on about our dissatisfaction with then-President Obama's handling of our military, primarily Bengazi, Veterans Affairs and Bowe Bergdahl.
Not one racist comment spoken, just dissatisfaction with how it was handled . A couple of people who apparently heard us felt it was their right to come to our table and call us out as racists, because of what they heard. Our response was to just smile, because they didn't deserve a response. Lucky for them!
Fast forward to today, President Trump is being called out in all kinds of nasty words, with total disrespect for him and the office he holds — even a local barrister refers to him as King Trump.
So what's different now? The First Amendment does protect the Right to Free Speech, but it was never intended to be done with such hate and divisive actions. It's being used to disrupt town meetings for local politicians where people have the right to assemble in peace so that they and the speaker can be heard without interruption.
And why do so many protesters hide their faces as they destroy public and private property? According to them, they have that First Amendment Right, so why hide? I'm not sure what word to use to describe those WHO speak foul of our President, but I will have one for them when the opportunity presents itself.
You can choose not to respect the man, but as an American Citizen, you should respect the Office of the President.
Bryan DeVoe is Truckee resident.
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