Thursday, August 04, 2016

Open letter to Donald Trump: The Purple Heart Medal is not a trophy to be won!

The headstone in this picture is that of my grandfather, Johnnie Lee Conyer, Mr. Trump. If you look closely, you will notice that he received the Purple Heart while fighting in the Korean War.

My grandfather watched his friend, who was walking right in front of him during a patrol, get blown up by a landmine. His friend was killed instantly, and my grandfather and the men behind him were cuts to pieces from shrapnel.

As a child, I always wondered what the weird looking marks on my grandfather's chest and abdomen were. It wasn't until I was in middle school, when he told me where he got them from. He never boasted about his time there, and he never talked about the war to try and prove how tough he was.

He went on to live and amazing life, including being married to my grandmother for 54 years, but he was always haunted by the death of his friend. He lived every day knowing how close he came to dying. He never took life for granted, and he raised me to live life the same way.

War is hell. People die. People get injured. Last week you made the error of criticizing a Gold Star family, and in less than a week, you made a joke about how you 'always wanted' a Purple Heart. Well guess what, no one 'wants' a Purple Heart, and receiving one sure as hell isn't 'easy'! We as veterans raise our hands to defend this nation, knowing that we may one day give our lives in the process. Whether you realized it or not, you dishonored Lt. Col. Louis Dorfman by making a joke about his sacrifice! Did you not think of the horrors he must have seen to receive that medal that you so casually joked about? You made a mockery of what our service members face every day, because someone needs to stand in the breach.

You owe Mr. Dorfman a public apology, Mr. Trump! You owe all the veterans who were injured in battle an apology! You owe the families of the veterans, and those who take care of our wounded when they return home, an apology! You owe our Gold Star families an apology! You owe all of our service members who you want to be Commander-In-Chief of, an apology for making light the sacrifices they will lay in down in defense of this nation! Call a press conference, and just do it!

If you truly want to be president, you might want to show the utmost respect to those who are willing to give everything, including their lives, and whose caskets are draped with the American flag at their funerals.

Danielle D. Hollars
An Army veteran