FARGO — It’s despicable that President Trump reportedly called our fallen soldiers “losers and suckers.” These brave Americans continue to be mourned by their families, and these patriots need to be remembered.
Neal Hern, a farmer from Miller, S.D., was just 23 when he was hit by mortar fire, and killed in the Korean War in October of 1952. Nola Storm, of Fargo, is Neal’s daughter. Nola never met her father. He died before she was born.
“There’s a big void in never knowing him and never touching him,” Nola said. “I want to know what his personality was like. I wish I knew what his voice was like, and how he sounded.”
Trump’s comments are upsetting to Nola.
“It hurts. It makes me sad,” Nola said. “Without people like my father we wouldn’t have such a great country. People who died serving this country deserve respect. I don’t understand why that makes them losers and suckers.”
Lyle Johannes, from Kulm, N.D., enlisted in the army and was sent to Vietnam. He was just 20 years old when he was killed in Vietnam in January of 1970.
“He just felt like it was his duty to serve. He was proud to be in the army,” said Lyle’s sister, JoAnn Bowman. “He was just such a fun guy. He brought joy to every family gathering. I was devastated when he died. I was only 14 at the time. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me.
Bowman says she’s shocked by Trump’s comments.
“Trump’s comments are heartbreaking. It’s unfathomable that our commander in chief would say that,” Bowman said. “It’s rude and totally disrespectful. Lyle went and did his duty, and to have a president disrespect that is hard to believe. I’m glad my parents weren’t alive to hear it.”
Maj. Ronald Bond, 37, from Fargo, was the pilot of a plane that was shot down in Vietnam on March 11, 1968. The plane exploded upon impact. Ronald, a graduate of Fargo Central High School and North Dakota State University, was killed. His remains have never been found.
“I looked up to him. He had a great heart and a passion for people,” said Ronald’s sister, Judi Maddock. “I was shocked when he died. I was proud of him. He was the glue for our family.”
Maddock says she constantly misses her brother, and Trump’s comments add to her pain.
“He’s telling us that my brother’s death in Vietnam, serving our country, makes him a loser and a sucker. How inhumane is that?” Maddock said. “It’s unconscionable. It’s so horrendous. It hurts. It stabs the wound.”
We, and especially the commander in chief, owe the many people who died fighting for this country a deep sense of gratitude. They answered the call, when their country asked them to. They are to be admired. Neal, Lyle and Ronald are not losers and suckers. They are true heroes.
Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director. Email email@example.com