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Carper condemns Trump’s comments disparaging US service members

Delaware News Desk
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, the only Vietnam veteran currently serving in the U.S. Senate, took to the Senate floor Sept. 9 to express his support for all former and current members of the U.S. military and forcefully disavow President Donald Trump’s recent comments disparaging injured and fallen service members.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, the only Vietnam veteran currently serving in the U.S. Senate, took to the Senate floor Sept. 9 to express his support for all former and current members of the U.S. military and forcefully disavow President Donald Trump’s recent comments disparaging injured and fallen service members.

“I rise today for one reason — to make crystal clear that we are profoundly grateful to every American who has answered our nation’s call to serve in uniform, to risk their lives — and in too many instances — to lay down their lives so that we might remain a free people,” said Carper. “We are profoundly grateful to their families who sacrifice so much while their loved ones are away fighting to protect the rest of us and making this a better and more just world. And, we are especially indebted to those families whose loved ones left for war and never came home.”

“One of those families was my mother’s family,” continued Carper. “I never got to meet my mom’s younger brother, Bob Kidd Patton. My mom was a Patton. Bobby — as he was known — was the youngest of five children, born near the coal-mining town of Beckley, West Virginia to my grandparents, Ray and Effie Mae Patton, a Gold Star mother. Bobby was killed in action on Oct. 26, 1944, during a kamikaze attack in the western Pacific on his aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Suwanee. Among the bodies of the ship’s crew who were never recovered was that of our Uncle Bob. On the day of that attack, he was 19 years, six months and 23 days old. My grandparents were never able to see their son again or say goodbye. My sister and I — along with our cousins — would never meet him. Neither Bob Patton, nor his Suwanee shipmates who also perished that day, were ‘suckers’ or ‘losers’ as President Trump has characterized others who answered our nation’s call to uniform. They were, and remain, heroes.”

“I was fortunate enough to make it home after serving three tours in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, but 58,000 of my brothers and sisters never did,” said Carper. “Their names are inscribed in black granite on a wall not far from here so that Americans will remember their sacrifice. Those 58,000 Americans were not ‘suckers’ or ‘losers’ either as President Trump has described our late colleague, Sen. John McCain. They were patriots who, unlike Donald Trump, answered the call of duty.”

“There should be 100 senators on this floor today, saying in no uncertain terms, that we have nothing but respect and admiration for those who have served, and we will not allow them to be mocked or ridiculed by anyone, including the president of the U.S.,” said Carper. “To the millions of soldiers, sailors, airmen and women, Marines and Coast Guard members who are risking their lives right now, around the world and have done so for generations, we salute you, we thank you, we thank your families from the bottoms of our hearts. God bless you, stay safe, come home.”