September 13, 2020

Toronto Star Contributor Op-Ed: U.S. veterans are determined to oust Donald Trump

Contributing column by DACA-Toronto member and Vietnam Vet J. David Markham appearing in the Toronto Star Sept 13, 2020

David Markham serving in Vietnam

I am no fan of Donald Trump, but as a veteran his outrageous comments about and attitude toward the military have made me angrier than normal. How dare he denigrate our service whether in popular or unpopular wars?

I am not a loser or a sucker. I am a decorated Vietnam vet who is proud of his service, even in a bad war. I didn’t try to get out of military service with bone spurs. In 1968 I was drafted into a war I opposed, yet I served honourably in the 9th Signal Battalion, 9th Infantry Division in Dong Tam, Mekong Delta, becoming a Specialist Five and earning the Army Commendation Medal and Bronze Star.

Throughout my year in Vietnam I put up with a lot more than wet hair, which was Trump’s excuse for not visiting a war cemetery in France in 2018, the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. Other world leaders went to the cemetery.


My unit was located right next to a hospital and we saw a daily parade of medevac Huey Slick helicopters bringing wounded and dead soldiers from the field. They were not losers or suckers either. Nor were the medical professionals who treated them, most of whom had likely volunteered for that duty. I am sure the president has no understanding of volunteering, especially at the risk of life or higher income.

While in Vietnam I found time to visit an orphanage, taking food and toys and, perhaps most importantly, some attention to these sad little war orphans. Has Trump ever been to an orphanage? Of course not. That would require compassion and empathy, of which he has exactly none. And what about the police? Are they suckers and losers for choosing to serve their community and sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice? Not in my book.

The loser in this scenario is the traitorous Putin Puppet. Loser? The president should look in the mirror (something I’m sure he does often enough). And want to see suckers? Look at the adoring crowds at those rallies.

When I was in the Army we had an ongoing, friendly feud with the Marines, each branch thinking it superior to the other. But the cemetery that Trump didn’t want to be bothered to visit is hallowed ground for them. So as an Army vet, I salute them with their battle cry: Oorah!

This may seem like an old vet venting. Well, we vets are determined to get Trump and his enablers out of office. Democrats Abroad, of which I am a Toronto member, has a Veterans and Military Families Caucus. We are working overtime all across the world to save our democracy from this hateful administration.

Any American citizen living abroad can vote in U.S. elections, usually in the state where they last lived. For more information, visit the website for Vote From Abroad ( Beware, Cadet Bonespurs! We are not going down without a fight!

David Markham is a dual U.S./Canada citizen, retired teacher and noted historian and author. He is also a lifelong Democratic activist.