Veterans Explain Why They Came to Trump’s Inauguration

Thousands of people gathered in the District of Columbia to watch the inauguration of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump was sworn into office Friday at noon, where he marked the event as a time of change for the American people.

“Today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another,” the president said, “but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the American people.”

And for those who served—traveling from near and far to watch the peaceful transition of power—it was exactly what they wanted to hear.

“Trump’s the man to bring the country back together again through a united front,” David Barrow, a U.S. Army veteran, told The Daily Signal.

“We support Donald Trump,” he continued. “We believe that he is the man to make America great again. I think he has the fortitude, the willpower, the determination, and the people surrounding him to make good decisions.”

Barrow, who served in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, or the Old Guard, traveled to the District from Goose Creek, South Carolina, with his wife and daughter to watch Trump take the oath of office.

The 70-year-old said he supported Trump because he expressed a sense of urgency for the economy and has a “desire to re-establish the United States as a world power, both militarily and economically.”

“We believe God has a purpose in placing Trump where he is,” Barrow said.

Wearing a Clemson University cap and a jacket bearing the logo of the Old Guard Association, Barrow said he is looking for Trump to re-establish ties with allies of the United States and “make the military strong again.”

Like Barrow, Mike Costello, 54, of Melbourne, Florida, is looking to Trump to rebuild the military during his time in office.

Costello, his wife, and daughter made the decision to travel to the District for the inauguration just two days before Trump took the oath of office—a decision Costello attributed to his “relentless” wife.

An Army veteran, Costello and his family run a communications business, and he said the last eight years have been especially difficult for his small business.

“It’s been tough,” he told The Daily Signal. “It’s hell.”

The 54-year-old said he’s seen his taxes and the cost of health insurance—Costello provides coverage to his employees—increase over the span of President Barack Obama’s presidency.

Costello supported Trump from Day One, and said the president separated himself from the pack of more than a dozen other Republicans vying for the GOP’s nomination early on.

“He’s not a politician,” he said. “He spoke his mind. You didn’t have to worry about what he was thinking or if he was lying to you.”

Unlike Costello, Scott Mason didn’t support Trump early on.

Mason, of Hilton Head, South Carolina, initially backed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the primaries and “Texas candidates,” like Sen. Ted Cruz, he said.

But after the Republican primaries ended, Mason, 50, decided to support Trump.

“It’s the direction that he wanted to take the party and wanted to bring it back to the American public, or at least his intention was to give it back to America,” Mason told The Daily Signal. “We’ve heard that from other candidates before, but it’s never been a believable thing, and obviously he came to a position where he had everybody and they believed what he said.”

Mason served in the U.S. Navy but now works for fire rescue in South Carolina.

During a campaign stop in the Palmetto State, Mason—who was working at the event—said Trump stopped him and his colleagues for a “grip and grin,” and to thank them for their work.

Over the last eight years, Mason said he feels like America has “taken the blame for a lot of things that have gone on globally.”

He specifically pointed to the Iran nuclear deal and the Obama administration’s handling of the January 2016 detention of 10 Navy sailors by Iran.

“There’s a lot of things that left a bad taste, and hopefully we’ll go in a new direction, a better direction, one that directs the general public’s agenda,” Mason said.

The Navy veteran traveled to the District with his son and wife. The trip to the nation’s capital was a Christmas gift to his 14-year-old son, who was gifted a Trump/Pence poster along with the weather forecast for Jan. 20—Inauguration Day.

Over the course of Trump’s presidency, Mason said he hopes to see Trump enact “American-centric type of policies.” But he also wants the country to unite around the new president.

“When it’s all said and done after the election, America needs to come together and do what’s best for America and go forward,” Mason said. “I don’t believe that if you go back to this day four years ago, eight years ago, that there were protests against President Obama, so that just goes to show you how slanted the two parties are and their reactions to results.”

Already, Trump has the support of at least one man who opposed him during the election.

George Davis, a 66-year-old from Muskogee, Oklahoma, came to the inauguration not to see the new president, but to raise money to fix up a Vietnam War memorial in his town.

Standing on the route inauguration attendees walked to the Make America Great Again welcome concert, Davis sold Trump banners to “raise as much money as I can.”

An Army veteran who served in Vietnam and Panama—and received two Purple Hearts during his time in the military, he said—Davis said it was Trump’s campaign promises that he disagreed with, particularly his commitment to build a wall along the country’s southern border with Mexico, and his economic policies.

“He was in areas like Pittsburgh and places like that that I’ve visited, and there’s no way he can refit the factories to open them back up again without spending billions of taxpayer money,” Davis said, “and I just don’t agree with that.”

He also said he disagreed with his rhetoric toward the country’s allies, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and referenced the petition members of the British Parliament debated in June calling for Trump to be banned from entering the country.

“They’re some of our strongest allies, and he weakens us by talking that trash and getting them mad at us,” Davis said.

Still, the 66-year-old said he hopes Trump fixes the issues at the Department of Veterans Affairs and strengthens the military, which Davis said has been weakened over the last eight years.

And now that Trump is sworn in, Davis said he stands behind the new president.

“He’s our new commander in chief,” he said, “so yes, I do support him.” (For more from the author of “Veterans Explain Why They Came to Trump’s Inauguration” please click HERE)

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