AT SUNRISE ON JANUARY 20, 1961, I CLIMBED INTO MY DRESS GREENS, THEN ONTO A BUS AND RODE INTO WASHINGTON TO BE PART OF THE MARINE HONOR CORDON AT PRESIDENT JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY’S INAUGURATION – A DIFFERENT MAN AT A DIFFERENT TIME.
As I stood at the parade rest for hours in the freezing cold, I never thought about the historic import of that day until, for a brief moment, the soon-to-be President and First Lady passed within a few feet of me. I’ve often reflected on that moment over the years.
Although I opposed the candidacy of Donald Trump, I can only wish him well, not for his sake, but rather for the sake of what has become a fragile Union. The new President would do well to remember the words of the old: “United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do — for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder. . . . And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”
A further comment from Bill Britton dated January 29, 2017:
I wrote this missive shortly after the inauguration in a moment of magnanimous folly.
President Trump’s subsequent claims and executive orders have obliterated any hope that he would change into a more thoughtful representative of all the people.
In particular, his continuing obsession with voter fraud (where numerous studies have found virtually none), and his order essentially banning Muslim entry into a country that once welcomed the “tired and poor,” I find particularly disheartening.
The United States has had what amounts to “extreme vetting” of immigrants from the Mideast for years. We would do better to effect intense scrutiny of extreme right-wing groups that have provided the inspiration for most acts of terrorism on U.S. soil over the past 25 years, groups, incidentally, that the President has failed to renounce.
The ban will only inflame Muslim hatred of the West and elevate the danger of violence directed toward U.S. civilians and troops in Muslim countries.”
Bill Britton is a Vero Communiqué Contributing Editor and a freelance writer for John Hopkins University.