Granduncle Joe, not long off the boat from Poland, thought he signed a contract as a bellhop at a posh Philadelphia hotel. Imagine his surprise when he found himself as part of the Marine Expeditionary Forces in World War I, France. Joe survived the Belleau Wood engagement, returned to the states, but never wore the Marine full-dress blues. He died in the 1918 flu pandemic.
My dad’s service with the 4th Marine Divisions Central Pacific, island-hopping campaign ended at Iwo Jima. The 4th was retired to the states, sustaining 80 percent casualties. Pop never saw John Wayne on Iwo. The Duke was shooting blanks on a Hollywood sound stage. Heroes earn Purple Hearts, not Academy Awards.
My brother served as a Marine Corps adviser to the Vietnamese (artillery) and survived the 1968 Tet offensive. Two of his brother Marine advisers did not. My service as part of the Navy Hospital Corps included a year with Fleet Amphibious Forces, Atlantic. The Corps always took good care of their “docs.”
American sons and daughters, children of blue-collar workers, have always answered the call to national service. They are the working-class heroes whom capitalism exploits, then abandons.
The heroes of the capitalist class, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Trump, used their family wealth and political connections to avoid national service obligations. Later, in positions of power, these pretend-patriots have no qualms about sending another generation of the working class to shed blood for Wall Street profits.
Those who served before us, and those who wear the service uniform today, have never been addressed as suckers or losers by the capitalist draft-dodger class, until Trump.
No, fellow veterans, the true suckers and losers are the brainwashed fools who proudly display Trump campaign signs on their property.