POLITICS

Democratic Candidates Join To Honor The Fallen In Memorial Day Tribute

Three of the 2020 hopefuls -- Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard and Seth Moulton -- are veterans themselves.

Several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates honored veterans with a Memorial Day tribute Monday, remembering the fallen with stories of their sacrifices.

In a video compilation by NowThis News and VoteVets, a nonprofit political action committee, Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), as well as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and several others, shared stories of Americans who died in combat.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who served in the Afghanistan War, offered a remembrance of Sgt. David Johnson-DeFord, a National Guard member killed in 2004 in Iraq.

Johnson-DeFord had previously spent time in the Army, but felt compelled to serve his country again after Sept. 11.

“He was motivated to serve because he felt he had to do something after the attacks,” Buttigieg said. “His sacrifice is one of so many that we need to recognize this Memorial Day.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), a veteran of her state’s National Guard, honored Staff Sgt. Frank Tiai from American Samoa, whom she remembered having “the privilege and honor of serving with during our deployment to Iraq.”

In 2005, Tiai was completing his last patrol before going on leave when a bomb detonated under his vehicle and killed him.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), who also served in Iraq as part of the Marine Corps, remembered James Hassell, an Alabama veteran who died of heart failure in 2013, nine years after rescuing an injured comrade in the Battle of Najaf.

The tribute honoring veterans was one of many on display this Memorial Day weekend. In Washington, D.C., thousands of motorcyclists came together for the annual Rolling Thunder procession, an event that aims to raise awareness about veterans.

The event was set to end after this year, though President Donald Trump caused confusion on Sunday when he tweeted that it would be back, contrary to the announcement of its founder and executive director, retired Army Sgt. Artie Muller.

Reacting to the news of Trump’s tweet on C-SPAN, Muller, who has said the money spent on the event could be better used elsewhere, noted that “there will have to be a lot of discussions and a lot of changes for everybody that comes here and our organizations that help put this together.”

CONVERSATIONS