Military and Police

President Trump Celebrates Military and Veterans at ‘Salute to Service’ Charity Dinner

President Trump marked this year’s Independence Day celebration rubbing elbows with military servicemembers, veterans, and big donors. The “Salute to Service” dinner, held at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., is part of the PGA’s “A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier” golf tournament.

In his speech, President Trump covered everything from the upcoming appointment of a new Justice on the Supreme Court to unemployment statistics. And in true Donald Trump fashion, he couldn’t leave out a reference to his election statistics, quoting a 42-point win over Hillary Clinton in West Virginia.

Call for Action to Serve Our Military

But the core message of the President’s speech was to celebrate patriotism in the company of those gathered for the tournament. He returned to focus on legislation and initiatives to support the armed forces.

“Our servicemembers have fulfilled their duty to America a million times over,” he said. “Now, we must fulfill our sacred duty to them. We must protect those who protect us.” This particular call to action is one that Trump has used in speeches championing VA reform and increased military spending.

He mentioned his political wins—VA Accountability and VA Choice, pay increases for military members, and the $700 billion military budget—in his speech. The President highlighted how his administration is helping our military.

“We’re gathered here on the eve of the 4th of July to celebrate the courageous men and women who make freedom possible, our brave servicemembers and our wonderful veterans,” Trump said to applause.

Special Recognition

He recognized those military and veterans in attendance, calling them “tough cookies.” He specifically mentioned those serving away from their families during the 4th of July holiday. “They are there, and they are with us, and they are brave,” he said of the members of the armed forces separated from their loved ones.

He also sang the praises of law enforcement officials, including Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Trump took the opportunity of a captive audience to extol the reasons that ICE needs to remain a priority. Some democrats are calling to abolish ICE following public outrage at policies which separated families at the border.

The President also had two special guests at the event who he chose to recognize, alongside politicians, lawmakers, and golfers.

Woody Williams, a 94-year old Medal of Honor Recipient, was praised for both his heroic actions during World War II as well as his continuous work on behalf of Gold Star families who have lost a loved one.

Christine Pusateri, the wife of Army Sergeant Chris Pusateri who was killed in action in 2005, also attended the event. The President recognized both Williams and Pusateri to applause from the entire room.

“For 242 years—it’s a long time—American independence has endured because of the sweat, blood, and sacrifice of the American armed forces,” said the President to a crowded room.

A World-Class Event

Trump attended the event at the request of the state’s governor, and owner of The Greenbrier, Jim Justice. He jokingly referenced the governor’s switch from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.

The resort has been in operation for over 235 years and boasts 27 Presidents as guests. It promises to “combine graciousness of the past with exceptional comforts of today.” A National Historic Landmark, the 11,000-acre property includes luxury accommodations, sports complexes, meeting rooms, a conference center, a casino, and five golf courses.

This luxurious backdrop was very appropriate for the event. The Greenbrier itself has a connection to the military. “During both the Civil War and World War II, the Greenbrier served as a hospital for wounded soldiers, so it’s appropriate,” Trump said. “Tonight at the Greenbrier’s first annual Salute to Service dinner, we’re calling upon this rich history, and we’re carrying on the PGA’s proud legacy of supporting America’s heroes.”

The night ended with all the patriotism and America-first fanfare we’ve come to expect from President Trump. As the group thought forward to the next day’s Independence Day celebrations, Trump called on them to remember our forefathers.

“These patriots knew that their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor were on the line. They risked it all for the promise of more of a just and better future. They wanted this great future in this incredible land,” the President said. He continued to make a connection to today’s military. “They made the same brave choice as countless others who followed in the generations after them: the choice to stand strong for their families, their principles, their pride, and there God-given rights.”

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Katie Begley

Katie Begley is a US Naval Academy graduate and former Surface Warfare Officer. In addition to being a military spouse, she is a freelance writer specializing in travel, education, and parenting subjects. Katie has worked in numerous communications roles for volunteer organizations and professionally for a local parenting magazine.

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