Becky Lourey: Respect for sacrifice and love of country

Several articles and the following opinion piece published in August 2016 featured Becky Lourey comments condemning 2016 Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for his attacks on a Gold Star family and other military veterans. As indicated here, she is supportive of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election. She was a strong supporter of Bernie Sanders throughout the 2016 nominating process, as well as an early supporter of Barack Obama in 2008, and in 2012.     

St. Paul Pioneer Press

  Becky Lourey: Respect for sacrifice and love of country

By BECKY LOUREY

PUBLISHED: August 12, 2016

My husband and I protested the Vietnam War and opposed the Iraq War. But we have never wavered in support of America’s military men and women who defend the freedoms of this country — nor have we questioned their commitment or love of country.

And that support continued when our son, Matt, joined the Army in pursuit of his dream of becoming a military pilot.

When Matt was killed in Iraq — his helicopter shot down outside Baghdad 11 years ago — we felt a burning grief that will never go away. But we also felt the pride of Matt’s ultimate sacrifice, which he made out of a deep love of country that drove him to serve.

Matt was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. After my son’s death, our family heard from his troop about his skill and courage, about the lives he saved during his tours in Iraq. We wept as we heard the respect and admiration poured on Matt for his life of sacrifice and bravery.

Our son died to protect freedom for every American, including Donald Trump’s right to speak his mind. And now we’re hearing nothing but disrespect from this man who seeks to lead our military as commander in chief.

Donald Trump’s attitude toward Gold Star families — his lack of empathy for grieving parents, his sheer ignorance about war, and his apparent doubts about the sacrifices made by men and women who serve and their families who support them — is unconscionable.

The job Trump seeks requires the deepest kind of commitment to protect and take care of all citizens — especially those who serve in our military. Yet he repeatedly denigrated a Gold Star family, questioning the validity of their service and commitment to our country.

Ghazala Khan, who said that she didn’t speak on stage at the Democratic National Convention because the pain is too deep and impossible to describe, has now been forced by Donald Trump to defend her pain. I know that pain. It should never be called into question.

Yet that’s what Donald Trump has done. In his own words and actions, he’s shown he lacks a basic understanding of what it means to serve our country.

Minnesota is home to thousands of military families who do understand sacrifice. They realize the importance of voting for the person who cherishes and defends the essential rights guaranteed to us within our Constitution.

As a military mom and anti-war activist, electing our next president is deeply personal for me and my family. Being president of the United States of America requires a sacred pact with those who serve in our armed forces — a deep understanding that the act of putting their lives on the line on behalf of our freedom and security will be honored forever.

All my life I’ve stood with those who seek peace and who devote themselves to avoid needless loss of life. And I’ve honored those who serve — and those who die for our country, like my son, Matt. We must demand the same respectful temperament from our leaders.

Hillary Clinton is the only person still running that I can trust with our nation’s sons and daughters. That’s why I’m supporting Hillary Clinton.

Becky Lourey, a Gold Star mother from Kerrick, is a former member of Minnesota Legislature who served in both the House and Senate as a member of the DFL Party.