On Sunday, Ron led 100 fellow veterans down the streets of London as a part of the UK’s commemorations of the armistice, 100 years for the reason that finish of the First World Conflict. There was a light-weight drizzle — it does not appear to have deterred him .
Two months in the past, he made the journey to put a wreath on the Dernancourt Communal Cemetery in France, the place his father misplaced his personal life in 1918. Ron was three years outdated when his father died within the First World Conflict; he nonetheless joined the military at age 15, eight years earlier than the outbreak of the Second World Conflict. Two generations of a household sacrificed to the service of a nation.
There was loads written in the previous couple of days about President Donald Trump’s failure to attend the armistice commemorations on the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France on Saturday — and on what it means for his standing in America as commander in chief of the armed forces. Much less has been written on what it means for America’s relationship with its allies.
US veterans have each proper to be offended by Trump’s incapacity to face a bit of rain. (Aisne-Marne cemetery had been chosen by the worldwide group to indicate respect to the People; Trump’s absence led to the weird picture of international leaders gathering collectively in a predominantly American cemetery.)
However think about, too, the message it sends to these of us whose nations have served alongside American troops, typically beneath American command. US presidents, it appears, are joyful to ship European troops into the face of battle in Iraq and Afghanistan, however to not journey 50 miles to mourn our shared conflict lifeless.
As a Brit, I’ve spent my life in love with the concept of America. I’ve lived in America, been educated in America, liked in America. No shock, then, that I’ve all the time been deeply dedicated to the concept of Anglo-American navy cooperation: Get a gin and tonic into me and I’ve even been identified to attempt to persuade British leftists that the invasion of Iraq, with higher planning, may have been a superb factor.
Nobody can critically imagine the varied excuses made by Workforce Trump for what seems to be sheer laziness this weekend, so I cannot grace them with a lot evaluation right here. There isn’t any problem getting from Paris to Belleau in a light-weight drizzle. Helicopters can fly in rain; presidents can take vehicles. (The opposite world leaders all managed.)
One factor’s for certain. In pulling this sulk, President Trump has managed to make sure the story of this armistice centenary is all about him — in splendid American isolation. For different world leaders, the weekend was a rigorously deliberate present of diplomatic alliances. British Prime Minister Theresa Could paid her respects at WWI graves on Friday, alongside French President Emmanuel Macron and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel (a member of the general public crashing into their cavalcade did not cease them), earlier than returning to London to put a wreath alongside the German President at Britain’s Cenotaph memorial.
The Queen, 92, additionally confirmed up. For all her wealth and privilege, she is liked right here in Britain for having obtained her arms soiled as a truck mechanic in World Conflict II.
I imagine,retro as it’s, that European and American navy may has a significant function to play in spreading democracy all over the world. Dwelling in america, I put my hand on my coronary heart to “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Veterans Day and shook the arms of American servicemen in gratitude for his or her service.
Nevertheless it will get more durable and more durable to clarify to my countrymen why they need to struggle and die alongside the flag of a nation whose commander in chief sees honoring our shared conflict lifeless — or celebrating peace with our former adversaries — as a chore higher evaded.
If Ron Freer could make it to a French cemetery on the age of 103, I am undecided why Donald Trump cannot. Then once more, maybe President Trump does not imagine in honoring males like Freer. I perceive he prefers conflict heroes who did not get captured.