What does a medal presentation to a 100 year-old World War II Navy veteran and protestors shouting “hands up” and “don’t shoot” have in common?
Dario Raschio, a 100 year-old veteran of five campaigns in the Pacific Theater during World War II, was being honored with a medal presentation in Portland, Oregon when protestors started shouting “hands up, don’t shoot,” drowning out Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden who was making the presentation.
He was awarded the U.S. Naval Aviator Badge, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the “Ruptured Duck” award and the U.S. Navy Honorable discharge pin. He was also given a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol.
According to Oregon Live, more than 100 protestors disrupted the event at the Multnomah County Town Hall. The protestors were persuaded to remain silent while the awards were presented to Mr. Raschio, but started shouting after it was concluded. The remainder of the town hall meeting was cancelled.
As Sen. Wyden remarked, after the event, “The reason I hold these town meetings is because I want to give everybody a chance to talk. I’m acutely aware that people are frustrated about what’s going on in Washington D.C. They are certainly frustrated about the topics that the protesters brought up. I just so wish we could have had a real dialogue.”
During the brief ceremony, Mr. Raschio was awarded a number of medals for his service during World War II. He accepted the decorations on behalf of the service men and women who died during the war and concluded his speech, saying, “God bless America. And you people that are here for a cause, whatever it might be—show respect to Sen. Wyden.”
However, the disruption caused by the protestors usurped the remainder of the town hall meeting and any topics that might have been spoken about were cancelled. Wyden has said that the town hall meeting will be rescheduled.
“I think that the symbolism of having a veteran 100 years old, who fought so gallantly so that those who disagree with government policies and want to exercise their First Amendment rights could be heard, that’s what made today so poignant,” Wyden said.
Mr. Raschio joined the Navy when he was 27. He flew observation planes from the USS Chester and participated in five campaigns in the Pacific Theater. His plane was shot down once but he and his observer were rescued from shark-infested waters by a Navy destroyer.
Mr. Raschio deserves respect, not disruption, from the people who are using their Constitutional right to protest. But, to give the protestors credit, they did allow the award ceremony to proceed. When asked to quiet down so the Senator could present Mr. Raschio the awards, they did. The presentation took place without incident and the protestors only started up again after Mr. Raschio was finished.
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