Vietnam Vets and Trump
Don’t let the old man in
I’ve been spending some time down at the National Mall with my “Lock Him Up” sign, sitting quietly on the steps as an unofficial greeter.
My goal is to spend an hour there for each and every “Let’s go Brandon” hat I have had to look at.
(I have quite a ways to go.)
Over the years, veterans have been coming to Washington to see the war memorials and visit Arlington National Cemetery. It's usually a one-day trip, expenses paid, flying in and out of Reagan. They are called “honor flights” appropriately enough.
I walk to the mall from metro, passing by the WWII Memorial on the way to the Lincoln Memorial.
I’ve been there now when several honor flights have been visiting; each veteran is accompanied by a companion and they are easy to spot in their coordinated tee-shirts and caps.
I had assumed, based on nothing more than my stereotyping, that veterans were Trump supporters, largely en masse.
Of the veterans expressing an opinion, many are thumbs up, fist-bumpers adding their own spicy version of where Trump should be.
And it’s not in the White House.
Each time I go, I invariably have one or two memorable conversations with folks who sit with me.
One such happened the other day.
A veteran from Iowa sat down and asked how much push back I got; we chatted about that and then I asked him about his life.
He was drafted when he was 20; after serving he worked a union job at a John Deere factory.
Deere had a program where he did shifts and was also allowed to attend college, he eventually earned a degree and worked in another field before retiring several years ago, he is now 76.
76 and very fit.
I asked him how he managed that, he smiled and said, “Don’t let the old man in” adding it was all about keeping moving and being engaged with people.
We talked a while more and then he was on his way — as he departed I noted his quick pace down the stairs and youthful gait across the plaza.
“Don’t let the old man in.”
I can remember that.