Animosity during State of the Union Address was wrong

In 2013, I humbly attended President Barack Obama’s State of The Union Address. I attended wearing my Army dress uniform. My left arm was still stuck at 45-degree angle; my abdomen still had holes from where shrapnel went through my protective vest. I felt very honored to be there.

I didn’t vote for President Obama and to be frank I had never voted before. Before being severely wounded while serving in Afghanistan, I was too busy serving our nation. I’ll never forget that experience though. It was my first introduction to politics as I watched one party stand and clap, the other side staying seated with arms crossed. My eyes were more stunned by this than what I had seen in three separate war zones.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up President Trump's State of thye Union Address at its conclusion. I’m not a huge fan of the president and there are things I detest. But that action alone brings great discredit to the position, to Congress and to the United States of America. Respect and decency should always be shown for our fallen, for our nation's heroes and for the elected leadership positions that we have representing our country.

Symbolically ripped apart with the president's words were Staff Sergeant Christopher Hake, killed in action and General Charles McGee who flew 130 combat missions in World War II. McGee is one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen and one of the first black fighter pilots. Sergeant First Class Townsend Williams, currently serving in Afghanistan, on his fourth tour to the Middle East was also honored in the torn-up speech.

As some of you know I’m not bound or affiliated with any party. I didn’t get “blown up” in Afghanistan for a side. I’ve dabbled in politics since that day. Vice chairman of my Town Council, director of legislative affairs for a statewide veteran’s group and a past unaffiliated candidate for governor. I want to find compromise. I get the frustrations.

Whether we agree, disagree, love or hate our elected officials, we need to recognize something as Americans. The real disgrace is how people are treating one another. All leaders, including our president and House speaker are supposed to lead by example.

The lack of respect for one another in this country is disheartening and it’s not just in our leaders. You gain more support for taking the high road in refusing to be drawn into negative actions.

We all bleed red.

Micah Welintuknois is an Army veteran who served in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Briefly, in 2018, he was an independent candidate for governor. He lives in Coventry. 

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