Thank you for your service, sergeant

This Memorial Day, let us take time to honor the fallen and all who served.

Thank you, Sgt. Nicholas Ranstad, for your service, including a combat tour in Afghanistan.

As a disabled veteran, he had so many problems with V.A. health care, he now chooses private health care over free V.A. health care. (By the way, I do, too.)

That’s not right, and adding your voice to others calling for improvements to the V.A. health system can’t hurt and might help. He wants Biden to “push harder” for changes (see story here). Me too, even though I don’t use that system.

Now a civilian, and free to criticize the commander-in-chief, he also added his voice to others who’ve criticized Biden for an incident on August 21, 2021, when the bodies of 13 American service personnel killed during the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan were returned to Dover Air Force Base outside Washington D.C.

The president, first lady, and other dignitaries attended the ceremonial “dignified transfer” of the flag-draped caskets from aircraft to ground vehicles. You can watch a 36-minute video of the entire ceremony here.

That event became a cause célèbre on the political right. Biden was accused of glancing at his watch, which Snopes determined was true (see report here), although Snopes couldn’t verify that he did so more than twice during the half-hour ceremony.

Presidents are busy people, but screw his schedule, our military fallen deserve their undivided attention, and Biden earned this criticism.

But that’s not all that infuriated Sgt. Ranstad. He said, “He never saluted anyone … I truly do not know how the parents didn’t confront him on the tarmac. I don’t believe I could’ve held my tongue” (first link above). He doesn’t have his facts, or I should say protocols, straight.

Civilians don’t salute; protocol is to place your right hand over your heart, which Biden did (as Snopes noted, and which is clearly seen in the video linked above).

Don’t get me wrong, Sgt. Ranstad is a hero who deserves our respect and, crucially, our support.

The cops shouldn’t have arrested him for firing his gun into the floor of a buddy’s home in frustration when he found his buddy dead from suicide.

But even heroes need to get their stories straight. Facts are important.

Biden looking at his watch during the ceremony is fair game for criticism, but attacking Biden for placing his hand over his heart instead of saluting is rightwing claptrap.

Would he criticize Trump, who really does disrespect our wounded our wounded (details here) and fallen (details here) troops?

Photo: Sgt. Nick Ranstad (standing) and his spotter Sgt. Alex Simpson (in wheelchair) with Vice President Biden in 2011

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