Sunday, September 23, 2018
Politics

Trump pays somber tribute to fallen troops on Memorial Day

ARLINGTON, Va. — President Donald Trump expressed the nation's "boundless" gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice paid by Americans defending the United States, dedicating his first Memorial Day address as commander in chief to a top Cabinet secretary and two other families who lost loved ones.

Participating in the somber, annual observance Monday at Arlington National Cemetery, Trump recounted the stories of Green Beret Capt. Andrew D. Byers of Colorado Springs and Christopher D. Horton of the Oklahoma National Guard as Byers' tearful parents and Horton's emotional widow looked on.

Trump also singled out for special mention Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired Marine four-star general whose son, Marine 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly, was killed in November 2010 after he stepped on a land mine while on patrol in southern Afghanistan.

To all Gold Star families, Trump said of their lost service members: "They each had their own names, their own stories, their own beautiful dreams. But they were all angels sent to us by God and they all share one title in common and that is the title of hero, real heroes."

"Though they were here only a brief time before God called them home, their legacy will endure forever," Trump said.

Horton, a sniper sent to Afghanistan in 2011, died in a gun battle with the Taliban near the Pakistan border three months into his deployment. Byers was on his third combat tour and, Trump said, ran through smoke and a hail of bullets to rescue an Afghan soldier when he was killed last November.

Secretary Kelly's other son, Johnny, is getting ready for his fifth military deployment. A son-in-law, Jake, is a wounded warrior.

Trump also recognized former U.S. senator and GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole, 93, who suffered lifelong injuries during World War II. He attended the ceremony along with his wife, Elizabeth Dole, also a former U.S. senator.

"As we honor the brave warriors who gave their lives for ours, spending their last moments on this Earth in defense of this country and of its people, words cannot measure the depth of their devotion, the purity of their love or the totality of their courage," Trump said.

"We only hope that every day we can prove worthy not only of their sacrifice and service, but of the sacrifice made by the families and loved ones they left behind. Special, special people," he said.

Before the remarks, Trump laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, touching it for a long moment before stepping away. He then rested his hand on his heart as a bugler played taps.

Stepping to the microphone to deliver the address, Trump seemed to relish the warm welcome from the audience gathered in the sun-splashed amphitheater. Trump has been feeling particularly aggrieved in recent weeks by federal and congressional investigations into contacts between his associates and Russian government officials, including news reports that Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and top White House adviser, proposed establishing secret back-channel communications with Russia during the presidential transition.

The president was accompanied to Arlington cemetery by Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as a slew of advisers and Cabinet members, including Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and Housing Secretary Ben Carson.

After the address, Trump visited a section of the cemetery for U.S. service members killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The White House said Trump visited the gravesite of Robert Kelly, who was laid to rest in Section 60.

Asked what meaning Memorial Day held for him, Secretary Kelly said: "Sad."

Accompanied by Pence, Trump walked briefly among the white marble headstones and greeted families, including Brittany Jacobs and her 6-year-old son, Christian, who was dressed like a Marine. Jacobs' father, Marine Sgt. Christopher Jacobs, died during a training accident in California in 2011.

 
Comments
Christine Blasey Ford reaches deal to  testify at Kavanaugh hearing

Christine Blasey Ford reaches deal to testify at Kavanaugh hearing

The woman who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers has committed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, her lawyers said Sunday. The lawyers said some details — including whe...
Updated: 1 hour ago

AP source: Kavanaugh, Ford agree to testify on Thursday

WASHINGTON — Negotiators reached a tentative agreement Saturday for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hear testimony Thursday from Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault from decades ago, two...
Published: 09/22/18

Trump administration aims to sharply restrict new green cards for those on public aid

WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials announced Saturday that immigrants who legally use public benefits like food assistance and Section 8 housing vouchers could be denied green cards under new rules aimed at keeping out people the administrat...
Published: 09/22/18
Dana Young, Janet Cruz spar over guns, schools, environment in crucial Senate race

Dana Young, Janet Cruz spar over guns, schools, environment in crucial Senate race

TAMPA — During a showdown Friday in Florida’s most hotly contested state Senate race, Democratic challenger Janet Cruz launched fireworks at Dana Young over education funding, the environment and guns.Young, the Republican incumbent in District 18, r...
Published: 09/21/18
Confederate group banned from Temple Terrace country club, may take legal action

Confederate group banned from Temple Terrace country club, may take legal action

TEMPLE TERRACE — After complaints from city residents, the Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club has notified the City Council that it will not rent space again to the Sons of Confederate Veterans for its annual banquet.The country clubȁ...
Published: 09/20/18
Carlton: Should felons who have done their time get to vote? Citizens of Florida, it’s in your hands

Carlton: Should felons who have done their time get to vote? Citizens of Florida, it’s in your hands

It’s not often that we citizens — busy with work, paying the bills, living our lives — find ourselves with the power to right a fundamental wrong.But here in Florida, we’re about to get that chance.On the November ballot — among all those candidates ...
Published: 09/20/18
Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

This has to be height of bureaucratic pettiness, especially for a city whose track record in promoting quality public art falls somewhere between stick figures and finger puppets.Richard Gonzmart is a community treasure. As the force behind a number ...
Published: 09/19/18
Romano: Florida’s dangerous prisons costing us more than money

Romano: Florida’s dangerous prisons costing us more than money

Two things you need to know about Florida’s prison budget:1. It was $2.3 billion this year.2. It was still not enough.Kind of staggering when you think of it that way, huh?We keep spending more and more on housing prisoners, and it’s like throwing mo...
Published: 09/18/18
Kavanaugh to testify after denying sexual assault allegations

Kavanaugh to testify after denying sexual assault allegations

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said Monday he was willing to speak to a Senate panel to "refute" an allegation he sexually assaulted a woman while in high school, after his accuser said via her attorney that she was ready to testi...
Published: 09/17/18
California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault

California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault

Earlier this summer, Christine Blasey Ford wrote a confidential letter to a senior Democratic lawmaker alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago, when they were high school students in subu...
Published: 09/16/18