LATEST NEWS
 Top Stories
 U.S.
  Severe Weather
  Bird Flu
 World
  Castro
  Mideast Crisis
  Iraq
 Business
 Personal Finance
 Technology
 Sports
  Sports Columns
  NASCAR
  Baseball
  College Hoops
  NBA
  NHL
  Tennis
  Golf
 Entertainment
 Health
 Science
 Politics
 Washington
 Offbeat
 Podcasts
 Blogs
 Weather
 Raw News
 NEWS SEARCH
 
 Archive Search
 SPECIAL SECTIONS
 Multimedia Gallery
 AP Video Network
 Today
 in History
 Corrections
Nov 10, 10:10 AM EST

Trump marks Veterans Day in Vietnam


AP Photo
AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

Multimedia
Home front stories: The toll of war on veterans and family members
Filipino vets who helped U.S. seek benefits
Veterans battle disabilities
Veterans Bond at Homeless Shelter
Mismanagement Allegations Surround Okla. Veterans Colony
Blind Soldier Serves in Special Forces
Report: Outpatient Care for Female Veterans Lags Behind Male Counterparts (PDF)
Veteran Burials Expected to Hit Record High
Programs Reaches Out to Homeless Veterans
Veterans Explain: Who Is a Hero?
Veterans Day marked with parades, somber ceremonies

Rhode Island opens state-of-the-art home for veterans

Buzz Aldrin joins New York City Veterans Day parade

Feds: Parking lots owner swindled Los Angeles VA out of $11M

DANANG, Vietnam (AP) -- President Donald Trump marked his first Veterans Day in office saluting American veterans in Vietnam, home to one of the most polarizing conflicts in U.S. history.

Trump on Friday traveled to Danang, Vietnam, site of an American air base during the war, and met with seven vets who had returned to the country where they lost comrades.

Thanking the veterans, Trump said: "I got to know them for a few minutes upfront, and they are definitely tough, smart cookies. We like them. I think they like me too."

He then encouraged the veterans, organized by a group called The Greatest Generation Foundation, to speak. Several praised Trump, including Max Morgan, whose voice cracked and began to cry as he talked about fallen veterans.

"From my heart, thank you for your support of the military, and it's an honor to be here as one of seven Vietnam veterans representing the 58,000 heroes who never made it home," said Morgan, of Santa Clarita, CA.

Trump, who at times appears to struggle with displaying empathy, reached out to hug him. Trump signed a proclamation Friday honoring veterans of the Vietnam War, calling them "the heroes who fulfill your duty to our nation."

On Twitter Friday, Trump honored the Marines, saying: "On behalf of an entire nation, Happy 242nd Birthday to the men and women of the United States Marines!"

Trump was in Danang as part of a lengthy trip through Asia to attend an international summit. Many government agencies are marking the Nov. 11 holiday a day early because it falls on a Saturday.

Like presidents before him, Trump has wrestled with the legacy of Vietnam. He did not serve but received draft deferments, one attained with a physician's letter stating that he suffered from bone spurs in his feet.

In 2015, Trump derided Vietnam war hero Sen. John McCain, stating his fellow Republican wasn't a "war hero" and adding, "I like people who weren't captured." McCain spent more than five years as a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967.

Over the decades, presidents have grappled with the conflict and its meaning for the country. President Lyndon Johnson abandoned his re-election quest after an escalation in the war led to more American deaths, while President Richard Nixon faced fierce criticism for expanding the conflict. President Bill Clinton's deferment before he entered the Vietnam draft generated considerable heat during the 1992 presidential campaign.

More recently, questions about the service of George W. Bush and John Kerry were prominent in the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns. Bush served in the Texas Air National Guard but faced scrutiny over his status and why he was never deployed overseas. Kerry was a decorated veteran who threw away his medals and testified against the war before Congress. His service record was questioned in campaign ads.

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.