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My dead brother is not a loser. I am not a sucker.

My dead brother is not a loser. I am not a sucker. Service members who die in uniform for freedom are heroes and winners. Trump thinks differently.

A recent Atlantic article highlights Trump’s belief that those who serve are “suckers” and those who die in service to the country are “losers." Memories of my brother, who died while serving in 2008, are not of a person that was a fool but a man who loved his country and saw service to country as his purpose in life — a resolve he believed greater than himself. The members of the military who I proudly served with displayed constant determination when defending and preserving liberties to all citizens gained from the U.S. Constitution. Trump’s single-mindness: to serve self and rain anarchy on the electorate in an effort to retain power. Trump’s sardonic comments about those who died and serve is yet another daily reminder why Trump is not fit to be president of the United States.

Jeffery Goldberg, the author of the Atlantic piece, writes that Trump “has repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members, and asked that wounded veterans be kept out of military parades.” The article goes further quoting Trump on why he cancelled a scheduled trip to an overseas American military cemetery. “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” As Trump worried about his hair and the rain, service members around the globe put their lives at risk for country and mission. They do this with the belief that our government policies and our country’s leaders are honorable.

Trump’s words and actions bring dishonor to our republic and the heroes who protect our way of life. Service members and veterans from North Carolina, Texas and Virginia have read the president’s words about the fallen. Many have asked and answered: is this president honorable? Do his words represent my beliefs? Do his actions reflect my views about our military fallen and those who oblige today? Does the president’s behavior put our diplomats and deployed service members in a better position to carry out policy right for the nation?

My great-grandfather fought in brutal combat during WWI. He lived with the effects of his experience for the remaining years of his life. His two sons served honorably during WWII against the tyranny of death and destruction delivered to the world under the leadership of liars, dividers and frauds enabled by others who failed to stand up for truth, justice and the rule of law. This led to the obliteration of millions. My only brother died in uniform, leaving four boys fatherless and forever void of future memories that include him. My brother’s eldest son deployed to Iraq during the global war on terror as an officer in the U.S. Army. I, too, fought on foreign lands in belief that I was sacrificing for the greater cause of freedoms given and maintained by constitutional rule of law.

My family are not losers, nor are we suckers. The time I spent in the military was purposeful and provided some of the richest moments of my life. I, for one, believe that Trump’s actions and words are disgraceful. As a member of a Gold Star family and combat veteran I demand an apology — for my mother and our ancestors who served before me.

The only “loser” I hope to know is Trump this November. The individual voter will have to save the republic. We can no longer depend on our government, judicial system or our institutions to defend our voting rights. This election and the future of our democracy solely rests in the hands of the electorate. The guard rails are broken. There are no other safeguards. When I cast my vote, it will be in honor of my patriot brother — in honor of all those who serve and for those who have died in service to our flawed but great country.

Scott W. Patton is a member of a Gold Star family and combat veteran that served in the 101st Airborne Division, 82nd Airborne Division, 5th Special Forces Group and 19th Special Forces Group. He has contributed to USA Today, HuffPost, Cleveland Plain Dealer and Military Times. Scott is a real estate developer who lives with his wife and son in Columbus, Ohio.

Editor’s note: This is an Op-Ed and as such, the opinions expressed are those of the author. If you would like to respond, or have an editorial of your own you would like to submit, please contact Military Times managing editor Howard Altman, haltman@militarytimes.com.

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