As I watched the inauguration ceremony yesterday, my emotions surprised me. I kept tearing up as the vivid moments of the event took hold of me. The sweeping shots of the Capitol as the sun came out, the sound of the Marine Band as the colors were presented and later withdrawn, my recognition of former presidents sitting across from newly-elected Biden and his wife—all of it moved me to the core. And when the newly inaugurated president gave his address, my heart was with him all the way.
There was never any question in my mind as to why the inauguration touched me so deeply. It was the fulfillment of the reasons why I risked my life in service to the nation. I put my life on the line because I believe in the goodness of my country. Put differently, I’m deeply patriotic.
So often during the Trump administration, I found myself asking, “Is this why I went into combat for the good of the nation?” My disgust at Trump’s corrupt, self-serving moves that damaged all of us became, toward the end of his time in office, a daily occurrence. I was especially sickened when he designated men like me and those who died at my side in combat as “suckers” and “losers.”
We haven’t heard the last of Trump. He still has knowledge of the nation’s secrets and a thirst for vengeance. Many millions of Americans still support him. Much malfeasance that he was able to conceal while in office will now come to light. And he will almost certainly be indicted for crimes, a danger he was protected from while president.
But we have, at last, a new president devoted to bringing us together. Watching his inauguration, I felt more keenly the bond I share with those who fought by my side and especially with those who didn’t survive the battlefield.
Once again, our sacrifices are remembered and honored.