Please Don’t Go
President Donald Trump has said that he will travel to Normandy, France to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6. The beaches and battlefields of Normandy have been sanctified by the blood of those who were killed, wounded or captured. This sacred site is where the US led coalition first fought its way into France to defeat the forces of Adolf Hitler. The coalition force of Americans (including undocumented immigrants), Brits, French, Canadians, etc. was comprised of all races, religions, and sexual orientations – some who had been previously wounded and returned to the fight despite their injuries. Irrespective of their backgrounds, each U.S. soldier had sworn an oath “to support and defend the U.S. Constitution,” and each was determined to defeat this enemy who had sworn an oath to an unstable tyrant – the “Fuhrer.”
The coalition of allies that forged a bond consecrated under enemy fire is now the object of ridicule by President Trump. His presence will remind the world that the U.S. no longer wishes to lead that coalition; that he disdains NATO and insults our coalition partners, while at the same time extolling the virtues of the dictators who lead our enemies. It will remind the world that the sacrifice of gold star families and those captured and tortured are now mocked by the successor to Operation Overlord Commander General Dwight Eisenhower.
The pock marked battlefield of Point du Hoc, where Army rangers scaled the cliffs under deadly fire, will be used like the front of Trump Tower for a photo opp. Soldiers in uniform will form the backdrop for the President’s remarks. These soldiers too will have sworn an oath to the Constitution – including the first amendment and separation of powers which this President either does not understand or does not believe in.
It should be considered the honor of a lifetime to walk those hallowed grounds and recall what brave American heroes and our allies sacrificed that day for the future freedom of us all – with bone spurs or not. To paraphrase our 16th president, “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.”
Please, Mr. President do America the honor of passing up this opportunity to grandstand before the world. Do it out of respect for the men who gave their lives for the very things you desecrate today.
Senator Thomas Umberg represents the 34th Senate District 34, which includes the cities of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Long Beach, Los Alamitos, Midway City, Orange, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, and Westminster. Umberg is a retired U.S. Army Colonel and former federal prosecutor. He and his wife, the coauthors of this op-ed, Brigadier General Robin Umberg, USA (ret.), live in Orange County.