President Trump and First Lady Melania met with American veterans of World World II in France to mark the 100th anniversary of the United States entering WWI.
A ceremony was held at the US embassy in Paris, where over 200 people attended, including World War II veterans part of a Denver charity that helps transport war heroes to the battlefields where they served. Three American veterans of WWII – Donald Cobb, 92 (USS Murphy), Steven Melnikoff, 97 (29th Infantry) and Joseph Reilly, 96 (101st Airborne) – attended the ceremony and shook hands with the president and his wife.
President Trump thanked the veterans for their service and called them “real heroes” who “fought for freedom in its hour of need”.
Fox 31 reports that Timmothy Davis, the President of The Greatest Generations Foundation, said that the ceremony was an important reminder of the sacrifice of American troops in WWI. Although the veterans present were those who participated in WWII, France represents a nation that that barred the brunt of both world wars.
“We owe it to every one of them. Even though none of them are alive today, we owe it to all of them to clearly and unambiguously understand what the first World War was about, how it started, and vow upon their graves to never let it happen again,” Davis told FOX 31.
The veterans shook hands with President Trump and the First Lady, Joint Chiefs Chairman and Marine General Joseph Dunford and the staff of the US Embassy in France.
On Friday, they’ll meet with French President Emmanuel Macron, President Trump and other world leaders to mark Bastille Day, which is similar to Independence Day in the United States.
President Trump received a warm welcome from those attending the ceremony, as both himself and Melania are pictured in front of a large crowd with children wearing his iconic red “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hats.
The president continues to show his respect and admiration for service members and veterans, vowing to reform the failing Veterans Affairs services that suffered under his predecessor Barack Obama.
Last week, Trump’s newly appointed Director of Veteran’s Affairs David Shulkin fired over 500 VA employees for various violations, essentially following up on his promise to hold VA staff accountable for failing to adequately serve America’s veterans.
The VA has removed 526 employees since Jan. 20, according to the accountability report released on Friday. Agency officials have demoted another 27 employees and temporarily suspended an additional 194 employees for longer than two weeks. The list does not include the employees’ names but shows their positions.
“In addition to posting the adverse action information, Secretary Shulkin announced that he is requiring approval by a senior official of any monetary settlement with an employee over the amount of $5,000,” the VA noted Friday. “Any settlement above this amount will require the personal approval of the undersecretary, assistant secretary or equivalent senior-level official within the organization in which the dispute occurs.”
Trump issued an executive order shortly after taking office creating an Office of Accountability for the VA, while at the same time protecting whistleblowers who come forward regarding issues in the department.
As opponents of President Trump and his “America First” agenda continue to fight against his policies, which millions of Americans voted for when casting their ballots last year, the president is continues to fight and uphold his promises to millions of America’s veterans.