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Pat Morris, a 44-year-old St. Paul banker and a father of two, signed up for the Kansas Army National Guard not long after 9/11. He was 26 years old, a college graduate with a good job and no debt.
“There was nothing in it for me,” Morris said last week. “I just felt a duty to my country to serve.”
His nine years in the National Guard included a deployment to Iraq in 2008 as a field artillery officer. Morris’ voice still catches when he discusses his battalion’s one death: An 18-year-old man, the youngest soldier in the unit.
Morris said he was disgusted when he read the story in the Atlantic on Sept. 3 quoting four anonymous sources speaking about President Donald Trump denigrating veterans and members of the military. They said Trump had referred to American war dead as “suckers” and “losers.”
What hit Morris hardest was hearing that Trump, while at Arlington National Cemetery, had wondered why war dead chose to serve in the first place: “What was in it for them?”
“He’s the commander in chief of this country, the highest point you can get,” Morris said. “Yet he can’t comprehend what has motivated someone to serve.”
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